How this very simple crystal structure stacks up is that each of the Polonium atoms sit on top of each other. Don’t you think this is that odd? Try taking some ping pong balls – and then construct the next layer so that each ball in this new layer sits directly on top of the one below. It’s not very stable is it? All other elements form ‘close packed’ structures, like Gold (cubic close packing) and Krypton (hexagonal close packing). In these structures the next layer sits in the dimple left between atoms in the layer below. Polonium, it would seem, is very different. This very simple (but strange) structure was first described in 1966, along with how the structure can change when you heat it up. More recently a group of theorist have investigated why Polonium takes up such a simple structure.
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