The overall crystalline lattice uniformity in recently available, highly purified mercuric iodide single crystals has been shown to be impacted by crystal handling techniques that were previously satisfactory. High resolution diffraction imaging of the surface regularity of crystals of various levels of purity and growth orientation shows: 1) that the newer materials have a generally lower level of precipitates, 2) that the incidence of these precipitates is now closely correlated with growth direction, and 3) that the deformation resistance and resulting sensitivity to crystal handling procedures are also closely correlated with these factors in this soft material.
As a result, gentler cutting and polishing procedures have been developed and are shown to be effective in preserving overall lattice regularity in the new material. The polishing required to remove residual surface scratches affects the lattice orientation of the softer, precipitate-free regions, while not affecting those regions with detectible levels of precipitates. These results correlate closely with the electrical properties of devices made from these crystals.