Le Grand K a Platinum/Iridium alloy which defined a kilogram for 140 years, Source: © BIPM

Facts about Platinum:

  • Platinum: Silver coloured precious metal
  • Fun fact about Platinum: Due to its inert nature in air platinum (and iridium) were the metals chosen for the cylinder that defined a kilogram for 140 years until 2018 when it was voted to be redefined using Planck’s Constant.
  • Chemical symbol: Pt
  • Atomic number: 78

A crystal structure containing Platinum:


Facts about this structure:

  • Formula: [Pt(NH3)2Cl2]
  • Structure name: cis-diamminedichloridoplatinum(II), commonly known as cisplatin
  • Fun fact about the structure: Cisplatin was first made in the 1840s, but it was until the 1960-70s that it was tested for anti-cancer properties.
  • ICSD Number: 22088 (What's this?)
  • Associated publication: G. H. W. Milburn, M. R. Truter, J. Chem. Soc. A, 1966, 1609-1616, DOI: 10.1039/J19660001609

More info:

Platinum is a rare earth metal (0.005 ppm in the earth's crust). It has been used for jewellery as early as the ancient Egyptians. Its low abundance makes it more expensive than gold and similar to gold platinum does not tarnish in air. Platinum, as well as being used in jewellery, it has a range of application including medical implants, dentistry and catalytic converters in cars. Cisplatin is a complex that consists of a central platinum with two coordinated ammonia and two coordinated chlorides. Although being synthesised in the 1840s it wasn't until the 1960-70s that it was used to treat cancer. It has proven to be one of the most effective anti-cancer treatments and is on the world health organisation list of essential medicines. Cisplatin works by binding to DNA, preventing the DNA from unfolding and therefore stopping the cancer cell from copying itself.

More info about the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT) in crystals project:

This project (#IYPTCrystals) is part of the International Year of the Periodic Table celebration (#IYPT2019), read more about the project here. You can follow us on social media using #IYPTCrystals and learn more about the wonders of crystals by following the CCDC on Twitter @ccdc_cambridge on Facebook ccdc.cambridge, on Instagram ccdc_cambridge or on YouTube CCDCCambridge.

If you want to find out more about some of the terms and concepts we have a Frequently Asked Questions Page.

A visualisation showing the structure containing Platinum alongside other structures published in the same scientific article: