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Unit Cells: Types

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Unit Cells: Types - Lesson Summary

Unit cells can be broadly classified into two categories - primitive unit cells and centred unit cells. Unit cells in which all the constituent particles, such as atoms, ions or molecules, are present only at the corners are called primitive unit cells.
 

 
Unit cells in which one or more constituent particles are present at positions other than its corners in addition to those at the corners, it is called a centred unit cell.
 

 
Based on the position of the centred constituent particle, centred unit cells are categorised into three types.
  • Body-centred unit cell
  • Face-centred unit cell and
  • End-centred unit cell
 
A body-centred unit cell has constituent particles at all its corners, as well as one particle at its body centre.
 

 
A face-centred unit cell has constituent particles at all its corners as well as at the centre of each face.
 

 
An end-centred unit cell has one constituent particle at the centre of any two opposite faces besides the ones present at its corners.
 

 
A three-dimensional crystal lattice is generated by the translation of lattice parameters a, b and c. Based on lattice parameters, we have seven popular crystal systems, namely:
  • Cubic
  • Tetragonal
  • Orthorhombic
  • Hexagonal
  • Rhombohedral
  • Monoclinic and
  • Triclinic

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