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Incommensurate crystallography without additional dimensions

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It is shown that the Euclidean group of translations, when treated as a Lie group, generates translations not only in Euclidean space but on any space, curved or not. Translations are then not necessarily vectors (straight lines); they can be any curve compatible with the parameterization of the considered space. In particular, attention is drawn to the fact that one and only one finite and free module of the Lie algebra of the group of translations can generate both modulated and non‐modulated lattices, the modulated character being given only by the parameterization of the space in which the lattice is generated. Moreover, it is shown that the diffraction pattern of a structure is directly linked to the action of that free and finite module. In the Fourier transform of a whole structure, the Fourier transform of the electron density of one unit cell (i.e. the structure factor) appears concretely, whether the structure is modulated or not. Thus, there exists a neat separation: the geometrical aspect on the one hand and the action of the group on the other, without requiring additional dimensions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratoire de Cristallographie, IPSB-FSB, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Le Cubotron, Dorigny, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Publication date: July 1, 2013

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