Abstract

ABSTRACT
X-ray crystallography is an experimental technique that exploits the fact that X-rays are diffracted by crystals. It is not an imaging technique. X-rays have the proper wavelength (in the angstrom range, ~10-8cm) to be scattered by the electron cloud of an atom of comparable size. Based on the diffraction pattern obtained from X-ray scattering off the periodic assembly of molecules or atoms in the crystal, the electron density can be reconstructed. Additional phase information must be extracted either from the diffraction data or from supplementing diffraction experiments to complete the reconstruction. A model is then progressively built into the experimental electron density, refined against the data and the result is a quite accurate molecular structure.