The structure of zinc blende crystals closely resembles the structure of diamond. Both these structures are cubic crystal systems, but they have different atoms in their unit cells. Thus, there is a difference between zinc blende and diamond structure.
What Zinc Blende?
Zinc blende is the name of the cubic crystal structure of zinc sulfide (ZnS). It is a diamond-like network. Moreover, it is thermodynamically more favoured than other forms of zinc sulfide such as wurtzite. However, it can change its structure upon changing the temperature. For instance, zinc blende can become wurtzite if we change the temperature.
We can characterize the zinc blende as a cubic close-packed (CCP) and a face-centred cubic structure (FCC). Furthermore, this structure is denser than the wurtzite structure. However, when the temperature increases, the density tends to decrease; therefore, a conversion can take place from zinc blende to wurtzite. In addition, the cations in this structure (zinc ions) occupy one of the two types of tetrahedral holes present in the structure, and it has four asymmetric units in its unit cell.
What is Diamond Structure?
Diamond is an allotrope of carbon. It is a solid form of carbon which has a three-dimensional shape. Moreover, each carbon atom is attached to four other carbon atoms via covalent chemical bonding. This crystal structure is called a “diamond cubic” structure.
Furthermore, among all natural materials, this compound has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity. Therefore, diamond is commonly used in industries for cutting and polishing tools.
What is the Difference Between Zinc Blende and Diamond Structure?
Zinc blende and diamond have closely related structures. The key difference between zinc blende and diamond structure is that zinc blende has both zinc and sulfur atoms in its structure while diamond structure has only carbon atoms in its structure. Moreover, two atoms in the basis of the face-centered cubic lattice of zinc bende are identical while the two atoms in the basis of the face-centered cubic lattice of the diamond structure are different from each other.
Summary – Zinc Blende vs Diamond Structure
Zinc blende and diamond have closely related structures. The key difference between zinc blende and diamond structure is that zinc blende has both zinc and sulfur atoms in its structure while diamond structure has only carbon atoms in its structure.
1.Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “Diamond Properties & Types.” ThoughtCo, Mar. 25, 2019, Available here.
1. “Diamond structure” By Pieter Kuiper – Own work -This image was created with POV-Ray (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Sphalerite-unit-cell-depth-fade-3D-balls” By Benjah-bmm27 – Own work (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia