still of jmol image
The crystal structure of sphalerite

Wikipedia: Zinc sulfide, Sphalerite
Housecroft: p. 169
Shriver & Atkins: p. 86
Smart & Moore: pp. 33 35
Greenwood & Earnshaw: pp. 679, 1202

The sphalerite structure is also known as the β-ZnS, zincblende or zinc blende structure. One way to understand it (Simon Hall-style) is to consider it as a cubic close packed array of anions, with half the tetrahedral interstices filled by cations.

An alternative view (from Greenwood & Earnshaw) is that of two interpenetrating ccp arrays, one of Zn and one of S, which are displaced with respect to each other. Zn atoms occupy half the tetrahedral sites in the S array and vice versa.

Every anion is surrounded by four cations and has tetrahedral coordination geometry. Likewise, every cation is tetrahedrally coordinated by four anions.

The sphalerite structure is closely related to the cubic diamond structure, which is what you get if you put the same atom in the cation and anion positions in the sphalerite structure.

Many compounds adopt the sphalerite structure, including cubic BN, α-AgI, β-CdS, CuCl, CuBr, BP and BAs.


Based on template by A. Herráez as modified by J. Gutow
Page skeleton and JavaScript generated by export to web function using Jmol 11.6.8 2008-11-24 13:39 on Mar 25, 2009.