Crystallography: X-Ray

Authored by: Robert M. Sweet

Encyclopedia of Optical and Photonic Engineering

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  September  2015

Print ISBN: 9781439850978
eBook ISBN: 9781351247184
Adobe ISBN:


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X-ray diffraction crystallography has become a major tool for chemistry and biochemistry. It can easily provide detailed structures of molecules of a few atoms, or, with more difficulty, molecular systems of a hundred thousand atoms. It can also examine the structural features of simple materials in exquisite detail. This entry mathematically describes the physics of scattering in crystals, and then shows how the phase of the scattered rays can be determined in order that one can reconstruct the final image of the electron density in the crystal. Finally, the entry focuses on some of the ways in which x-ray diffraction can provide useful information for chemistry, biology, physics, or materials science.

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