The effect that structure has is most easily seen when looking at crystals. Take graphite and diamond, for example - two forms of carbon, varying only in the structural arrangement of a single element (carbon). One makes excellent pencils for its softness, the other makes excellent cutting for its strength. Both are made entirely of carbon, yet these structural changes yield massive
differences, and as any woman will tell you, one is not
the same as the other.
SiO2, or silicon dioxide, can appear as either quartz, flint, or glass - and again, all share the same chemical composition and yet yield completely different substances, with completely different properties. Glass cannot be used to make hard drives or radios, you cannot time a watch to glass and when it is squeezed it does not create electrical energy - but quartz can and does, and because of its structure
is able to store information, vibrate at specific rates, and create electrical energy when mechanical pressure is applied - a property called piezo-electricity
. It's because of its specific crystalline structure -
which is what determines its properties.
Crystals have amazing properties, from the ability to transform energy from one type to another -
like in the case with piezoelectricity - or to express pyroluminosity,
emitting light when exposed to heat. It can be cut into a specific shape to vibrate at a specific rate - so precise it can be used to keep time, as is the case with quartz and certain watches. It can be used to tune into certain frequencies, as is the case with radio frequencies in the original crystal radios. Certain crystalline structures can cohere
energy and information, such as rubies in the original lasers. The specific pattern of molecular arrangement
is what allows a properly cut ruby to focus scattered light waves into one direction, and project them as a synchronized, cohered wave - also known as a laser.