Hearing radio waves with galena

What does it look like? Galena-unit-cell-3D-ionic

What is it?

A collection of galena crystals, photo by Rob Lavinsky

A collection of galena crystals, photo by Rob Lavinsky

Galena, which is a form of lead (II) sulfide, is the most important lead ore mineral. The structure image probably looks quite familiar, as Galena takes up the ‘classical’ rock salt structure. The separation of the metal lead atoms in the structures makes galena a natural semiconductor, one of the first materials to be indentified with these properties. This feature was exploited in ‘crystal radio’ sets. Like the telluride mineral that we featured last week, galena must always be handled with great care as lead is very toxic to humans.

Where did the structure come from?

Galena is #9000001 in the open crystallography database.

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