Twinning is a phenomenon somewhere between a crystallographic defect and a grain boundary. Like a grain boundary, a twin boundary has different crystal orientations on its two sides. But unlike a grain boundary, the orientations are not random, but related in a specific, mirror-image way. A twin boundary happens when the crystals on either side of a plane are mirror images of each other.
The boundary between the twinned crystals will be a single plane of atoms. There is no region of disorder and the boundary atoms can be viewed as belonging to the crystal structures of both twins.
There are three modes of formation of twinned crystals. Twins are either grown-in during crystallisation, or the result of mechanical or thermal work. Grown twins are the result of an interruption or change in the lattice during formation or growth due to a possible deformation from a larger substituting ion. Annealing or transformation twins are the result of a change in crystal system during cooling as one form becomes unstable and the crystal structure must re-organize or transform into another more stable form. Deformation or gliding twins are the result of stress on the crystal after the crystal has formed.
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