Crystallography

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XRay_Overview

Crystallography is the experimental science of determining the arrangement of atoms in the crystalline solids (see crystal structure). The word “crystallography” derives from the Greek words crystallon “cold drop, frozen drop”, with its meaning extending to all solids with some degree of transparency, and grapho “I write”. In July 2012, the United Nations recognised the importance of the science of crystallography by proclaiming that 2014 would be the International Year of Crystallography.[1]X-ray crystallography is used to determine the structure of large biomolecules such as proteins.

Before the development of X-ray diffraction crystallography (see below), the study of crystals was based on their geometry. This involves measuring the angles of crystal faces relative to theoretical reference axes (crystallographic axes), and establishing the symmetry of the crystal in question. The former is carried out using a goniometer. The position in 3D space of each crystal face is…

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