What Is a Lattice in Chemistry?

According to the Avogadro website, a lattice is a regular arrangement of particles. These particles can be atoms, ions or molecules.

When a substance is in its solid state, as a solid phase material, its particles are arranged into a lattice. These lattices are arranged to achieve minimum stored energy. The bonding of lattices is chemical in nature, and is an important factor in categorizing lattices.

  • Ions are bonded with ionic bonding, creating a giant ionic lattice.
  • Atoms are bonded with covalent bonding, creating a giant molecular lattice.
  • Molecules are bonded with covalent bonding (for atoms forming molecules) and intermolecular bonding (between separate molecules), creating a molecular lattice.