A central question in the study of amorphous materials is the extent to which they are ordered. When the crystalline intermetallic R-Al 5Li3Cu is compressed to 23.2 gigapascals at ambient temperature, an amorphous phase is produced whose order can be described as defects in a curved-space crystal. This result supports a structural relation between quasi-crystals and amorphous metals based on icosahedral ordering. This result also shows that a metallic crystal can be made amorphous by compression.
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