Close-packing models (part 2)

As mentioned in Part 1, the Balls and Sticks software can be used to create attractive models to illustrate the two common close-packed structures as well as more complex models based on these. For functionality that is not available in Balls and Sticks, such as plotting lattice planes and crystal faces or exporting vector graphics or three-dimensional data, the .CIF files exported from Balls and Sticks can be imported into VESTA. Note that the colour and atomic radius data used for the elements in Balls and Sticks is not preserved in VESTA, and these must be manually set up if required. Using VESTA you can add lattice planes as shown to illustrate where the close-packed planes are: and you can export data in the 3D format .wrl which can (with some conversion and manipulation) be used to make rotatable 3D models that can be used in other applications (including directly in web pages – more on this in a subsequent post).