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Title: Shock synthesis of quasicrystals with implications for their origin in asteroid collisions

Here, we designed a plate impact shock recovery experiment to simulate the starting materials and shock conditions associated with the only known natural quasicrystals, in the Khatyrka meteorite. At the boundaries among CuAl5, (Mg 0.75Fe 0.25 2+) 2SiO 4 olivine, and the stainless steel chamber walls, the recovered specimen contains numerous micron-scale grains of a quasicrystalline phase displaying face-centered icosahedral symmetry and low phason strain. The compositional range of the icosahedral phase is Al 68-73Fe 11-16Cu 10-12Cr 1-4Ni 1-2 and extends toward higher Al/(Cu+Fe) and Fe/Cu ratios than those reported for natural icosahedrite or for any previously known synthetic quasicrystal in the Al-Cu-Fe system. The shock-induced synthesis demonstrated in this experiment reinforces the evidence that natural quasicrystals formed during a shock event but leaves open the question of whether this synthesis pathway is attributable to the expanded thermodynamic stability range of the quasicrystalline phase at high pressure, to a favorable kinetic pathway that exists under shock conditions, or to both thermodynamic and kinetic factors.
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [4] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States)
  2. Princeton Univ., Princeton, NJ (United States)
  3. Univ. degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze (Italy); CNR-Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse, Firenze (Italy)
  4. Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 113; Journal Issue: 26; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (United States)
Research Org:
Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Contributing Orgs:
US National Science Foundation (NSF) EAR-1426526 University of Firenze, Italy NSF-MRSEC Program through New York University DMR-0820341 NSF-MRSEC Program through Princeton Center for Complex Materials DMR-0819860 NSF EAR-0318518 DMR-0080065
Country of Publication:
United States
45 MILITARY TECHNOLOGY, WEAPONRY, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE; icosahedrite; shock metamorphism; alloys; meteorites; quasicrystals
OSTI Identifier: