We begin our story with the basic and classic “ball and spoke” model of the diamond crystal. In this model, the balls represent the carbon atoms and the spokes represent the carbon-to-carbon chemical bonds that hold the diamond crystal together.The image which is shown below represents a basic repeat unit of the diamond structure, which gets repeated hundreds of thousands, even millions, of times to build an actual diamond crystal. The basic assembly of atoms that we show is called a unit cell. It can repeat uniformly to infinity according to the geometry of packing cubes. This is called a cubic unit cell. The cube packing is an organizing principal, but the cubes do not actually occur within the diamond crystal.
Cubic unit cell of diamond crystal.
Eight cubic unit cells stacking together to grow the diamond crystal.
Eight diamond unit cells without showing the stacked cubes.
Returning to a single diamond crystal unit cell assembly.
Space filling animation with and without mapping of unit cell cube.