An X-ray diffractometer

An X-ray diffractometer

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Credit: JAMES KING-HOLMES/OCMS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: X-ray diffraction crystallography. A crystal of methanol dehydrogenase is bombarded with X-rays to determine its molecular structure. The dimensions of the crystal sample, visible here in the phial at centre, are usually only around 0.25 x 0.5 millimetres. The repeated pattern of the crystal lattice acts as a diffraction grating, diffracting the beam in a way which depends on the spacing and arrangement of atoms in the lattice. The scattered rays then strike a detector plate; the data is recorded either on X-ray sensitive photographic film, or with electronic equipment linked to a computer.

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Keywords: crystal, crystallography, device, diffraction, equipment, instrument, science, scientific, x-ray crystallography, xray

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