Anisotropy (from Greek ἀν alpha privative un -; Greek isos equal ἴσος, and Greek τρόπος tropos turn, direction) indicates the direction dependence of a property or process. Anisotropy is the opposite of isotropy. The term is used in this sense in physics (eg, radiation, magnetism, propagation velocity of seismic waves ), material science, crystallography and mathematics each have different properties of the systems under consideration.


  • The radiation from the sun is isotropic, the laser anisotropic.
  • Directional arrangement of the crystallites in metal (texture): This results in an anisotropy of the elastic and plastic deformation.
  • The birefringence ( optical ) is based on anisotropy in the refractive index.
  • Liquid crystals are anisotropic fluids.
  • An element x of a Bilinearraumes (V, b ) is called anisotropic, if the equation b ( x, x) = 0 does not hold.
  • The elasticity of materials is generally anisotropic. This is described by the laws of elasticity. The best-known anisotropic elasticity laws are the triclinic anisotropic, the orthotropic and transversely isotropic elasticity of the law. Examples: glass and carbon fiber reinforced plastics ( GFRP and CFRP ) and stretched plastics have a directional elasticity law.
  • Anisotropic etching of semiconductors gives you more precise control of material removal. For this purpose, an etchant may be used, which preferably operate in certain directions in the crystal lattice.
  • All crystals (and thus mineral ) are anisotropic in some properties.
  • Fluorescence can be anisotropic to some extent, i.e., the fluorescence radiation emerging in this case is with respect to its plane of vibration is not evenly distributed (see fluorescence anisotropy ).
  • In cell biology, the uniform enlargement of a cell after cytokinesis is called isotropic; expires when amplified in a direction (ie, elongation growth of the cell ), they are called anisotropic.