Difference Wiki

Schottky Defect vs. Frenkel Defect: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 21, 2023
A schottky defect occurs when atom pairs are missing from an ionic crystal, reducing its density. A frenkel defect arises when an atom shifts to an interstitial site, not affecting the crystal's density.

Key Differences

In the realm of crystallography, schottky defect and frenkel defect are two primary point defects in ionic crystals. These defects are imperfections at the atomic level, impacting the crystalline structure's overall properties and behavior.
A schottky defect is characterized by the removal of equal numbers of cations and anions from the crystal lattice, creating vacancies. This defect typically results in a decrease in the density of the crystal. In contrast, a frenkel defect happens when an atom, usually a cation, leaves its regular position in the lattice and occupies an interstitial site, making the atom misplaced rather than missing.
The schottky defect doesn't involve the creation of new positions in the crystal lattice. It simply results in a void. On the other hand, the frenkel defect adds a new position (the interstitial site) while vacating the original position, keeping the total number of atoms unchanged.
The formation of a schottky defect is more likely in crystals with closely sized cations and anions due to the comparable ease of their simultaneous removal. On the contrary, frenkel defects are more common in crystals where there's a significant size difference between cations and anions, as smaller ions can more easily shift to interstitial sites.
It's worth noting that both schottky defects and frenkel defects can influence the properties of materials. For instance, the electrical conductivity can be affected because these defects can act as charge carriers. However, their effects and mechanisms differ based on the defect type.

Comparison Chart

Type of Defect

Vacancy defect
Dislocation defect

Effect on Density

Decreases density
No change in density

Ions Involved

Both cations and anions
Mainly cations

Occurrence Preference

Crystals with similarly sized ions
Crystals with large size difference between ions

Impact on Lattice

Creates voids
Misplacement without creating voids

Schottky Defect and Frenkel Defect Definitions

Schottky Defect

A point imperfection due to the absence of ion pairs.
NaCl often displays a schottky defect by missing Na+ and Cl- ions.

Frenkel Defect

A lattice irregularity due to shifted ions.
Certain conditions can lead to the manifestation of a frenkel defect in crystals.

Schottky Defect

An atomic irregularity caused by paired ion removal.
Ionic crystals under certain conditions can exhibit the schottky defect.

Frenkel Defect

An ionic defect involving an interstitial ion.
Electrical properties can be influenced by the frenkel defect.

Schottky Defect

A structural anomaly due to missing cations and anions.
The presence of a schottky defect can alter a crystal's physical properties.

Frenkel Defect

An anomaly in ionic crystals where an ion is both vacant and interstitial.
The frenkel defect can impact a material's mechanical strength.

Schottky Defect

A crystal defect characterized by vacant atomic sites.
The schottky defect results in a decrease in the material's overall density.

Frenkel Defect

A defect where an ion is dislocated from its site.
The frenkel defect doesn't change the overall density of a crystal.

Schottky Defect

A vacancy defect in ionic solids.
The schottky defect can enhance the material's conductivity.

Frenkel Defect

A point imperfection due to ion misplacement.
ZnS often shows a frenkel defect with Zn2+ ions moving to interstitial sites.


Does a frenkel defect change a crystal's density?

No, a frenkel defect doesn't alter the overall density.

What causes a frenkel defect?

It arises when an ion, typically a cation, moves from its lattice site to an interstitial site.

What is a schottky defect?

It's a vacancy defect in a crystal due to the absence of paired ions.

Why is the schottky defect common in NaCl?

Because of the comparable sizes of Na+ and Cl- ions, leading to their simultaneous removal.

Which ion primarily shows a frenkel defect?

Typically, cations exhibit the frenkel defect.

Do these defects influence electrical conductivity?

Yes, both can act as charge carriers, affecting conductivity.

What happens to ions in a schottky defect?

Ions are removed, leaving vacant sites.

Can both defects coexist in a crystal?

Yes, a material can have both schottky and frenkel defects.

Are both cations and anions involved in a schottky defect?

Yes, both ion types are absent in equal amounts.

Are frenkel defects observed in metals?

Rarely, as they're primarily seen in ionic crystals.

How does a schottky defect impact density?

A schottky defect leads to decreased density.

Is a frenkel defect a type of vacancy defect?

No, it's a dislocation defect due to ion misplacement.

How do these defects affect mechanical properties?

They can influence strength, hardness, and ductility.

Can schottky defects increase conductivity?

Yes, by acting as charge carriers.

Which defect is more prevalent in AgCl?

Frenkel defect, due to the size difference between Ag+ and Cl- ions.

Why are these defects important in materials science?

They influence physical, electrical, and thermal properties of materials.

How does a frenkel defect differ from interstitial impurity?

A frenkel defect involves native ions, while interstitial impurity involves foreign atoms.

Can these defects be eliminated?

It's challenging, but certain treatments can reduce their concentration.

What type of crystals are prone to frenkel defects?

Crystals with significant size differences between cations and anions.

Which defect involves the creation of voids?

The schottky defect creates voids in the lattice.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons