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What is the meaning of "more thermodynamically stable surface" when we speak of crystallographic facet formation? For example in wurtzite crystals, the formation of (10-11) surfaces are more favorable than the formation of (20-21). Why? and How? and What is the physical explanation behind?

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  • $\begingroup$ Surface atomic position have certain excess energy compared to those in the bulk. Different surfaces have different energies. If the atoms were allowed to vote, they would rather have a crystal with no surface at all, but that just isn't possible. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Feb 18 '16 at 20:44
  • $\begingroup$ I think it is reasonable to assume that crystal faces form according to the "more thermodynamically stable surface." However the "more thermodynamically stable surface" is dependent on the various conditions in which the crystal forms, for example temperature, pressure and concentrations. Calcite has hundreds of forms. The gist is that there is no model which can now suitably predict the shape of a crystal. $\endgroup$ – MaxW Feb 19 '16 at 5:32

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