Neutron diffraction uncovers largest single gold crystal

Neutron diffraction uncovers largest single gold crystal

A lucky traveler who discovered four large nuggets of gold in Venezuela decades ago took his finds to Los Alamos National Laboratory to help determine if they were single-crystal specimens. Researchers at the lab examined the nuggets with a single-crystal diffraction instrument that uses neutron diffractometry to peer inside natural and synthetic specimens without harming them. One of the nuggets, the largest at 7 oz., was valued at $1.5 million if it were a single crystal, so it was paramount the nuggets not be harmed by the testing. The researchers found that three of the four specimens were single-crystals and one of those was the largest gold crystal ever found (shown).

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