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3D LED Cube

Photograph of the LED cube being soldered.

The Red Green Blue Light Emitting Diode Cube (RGB LED Cube) is a project intended to be a visual aid for the Materials Engineering Department at Boise State University.  The Cube will allow professors to better explain the concepts of crystal structures, slip planes, atom locations and much more.  The idea behind this it that currently professors use white boards to draw the 3D structures for students.  While this is a great idea and allows the ability for students to write in their notes, sometimes the 3D concept gets lost.  Utilizing the RGB LED Cube can help with this issue.

Picture of a 3D Crystal Lattice

(Image 1) 3D Crystal Lattice Structure

Image 1 (to the right) shows a basic crystal structure with the atom locations the circles.  Imagine the atoms as LED’s lit up in the Cube.  Giving an actual 3D representation of the atoms location within the crystal in an actual 3D structure.  The cube measures 8x8x8 LED’s and can be programmed to show any type of crystal structure using any color the programmer wishes.

Such would be the case as in image 2 showing stacking faults.  The programmer can use the same colors shown in the image to visually show in 3d how the structure looks within the crystal matrix.  Image 3 shows another example of how the cube can be used to visually show atom locations within a crystal matrix. Again any color can be used to show the positions of the atoms using the led cube.

Image of crystal lattice stacking faults.

(Image 2) Stacking Faults

Image of a 3D crystal lattice.

(Image 3) A perovskite unit cell showing an off-centered titanium ion






Image 4 below shows examples of slip planes within a crystal structure.  The RGB LED Cube can also demonstrate slip planes using the colored lights as well. Any slip plane can be programmed into the cube.

Image of slip planes in a crystal lattice.

(Image 4) Various crystal lattice slip planes.

Most exciting of all about the RGB LED Cube is its ability to do animations.  Not only can the cube show the crystal structures and slip planes but it can also be animated.  For example the figure in image 3 could be animated to show the center structure rotating.  The slip planes can be animated to move showing how they look in 3d.  Plus much much more!

Animated image of the 3D LED Cube

3D LED Cube in action.