Crystal Lattice Structures: Reference Date:   1 Jan 1998
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2004

Index by Pearson Symbol

The Pearson symbol indicates the crystal symmetry and the number of atoms in the unit cell. For example, NaCl has a face-centered (F) cubic (c) structure with 8 atoms in the cube, so it is designated cF8. Cinnabar has 6 atoms in a hexagonal (h) primitive (P) cell, so it is designated hP6. Note that the Pearson symbol does not necessarily specify a unique structure (e.g., cF8).

You will notice a striking similarity between the Pearson symbol categories and the space group categories.

Pearson Symbol Categories:

Cf icon
a (asymmetric) type
Te icon
m (monoclinic) type
CuTe icon
o (orthorhombic) type
L1_0 icon
t (tetragonal) type
hcp icon
h (hexagonal and rhombohedral) type
fcc icon
c (cubic) type

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Naval Research Laboratory
Center for Computational Materials Science

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