A single crystal or mono-crystalline solid is a material in which the crystal lattice of the entire sample is continuous and unbroken to the edges of the sample, with no grain boundaries. The absence of the defects associated with grain boundaries can give mono-crystals unique properties, particularly mechanical, optical and electrical.
It may contain a dopant, that is a trace impurity element that is inserted into a substance (in very low concentrations) to alter the electrical or optical properties of the substance. A single crystal is made up of an orderly three-dimensional arrangement of the atoms, ions, or molecules that is repeated throughout the entire volume.
Single crystals are usually made to order.
Single crystals are essential in research, especially in condensed-matter physics, materials science, and surface science. The detailed study of the crystal structure of a material by techniques such as Bragg diffraction and helium atom scattering is much easier with monocrystals. Only in single crystals it is possible to study directional dependence of various properties. Furthermore, techniques such as scanning, tunnelling, or microscopies are only possible on surfaces of single crystals.
Certain minerals, such as quartz as well as gemstones, often occur as single crystals. Synthetic single crystals, especially silicon and gallium arsenide, are used in solid-state electronic devices such as integrated circuits and light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
A “Perfect Crystal” is an idealization that does not exist in nature. There will always be either foreign atoms (impurities), missing atoms (vacancies), or atoms in between lattice sites (interstitials) where they should not be. Any one of these will prevent the creation of a perfect crystal structure.
High purity Silver Single Crystals are produced in various standard and custom dimensions and orientations for optical, electronic, thin film, and other high technology application due to its electroconductive properties.
It can be found polished or unpolished.