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Diffraction Methods in Inorganic Chemistry

  1. Judith A. K. Howard,
  2. Andrei S. Batsanov

Published Online: 15 MAR 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0470862106.ia064

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry

How to Cite

Howard, J. A. K. and Batsanov, A. S. 2006. Diffraction Methods in Inorganic Chemistry. Encyclopedia of Inorganic Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. University of Durham, Durham, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 MAR 2006


X-ray diffraction is by far the largest source of information on crystal and molecular structures and (at high precision) can reveal fine details of the electron density distribution. Neutron diffraction is indispensable for special tasks, for example, locating hydrogen atoms and studying crystal dynamics and magnetic properties. After a brief introduction on crystal symmetry and diffraction physics, the article surveys the currently available instrumentation and practical techniques of diffraction experiments, of interpreting the structural data and assessing their quality, with an emphasis on recent progress in technology (synchrotron radiation, area detectors, low- and high-temperature, and high-pressure experiments), software (direct phasing, dealing with twinning and incommensurate phases), and data storage (crystallographic databases).


  • crystal structure;
  • high pressure;
  • low temperature;
  • neutron diffraction;
  • symmetry;
  • thermal motion;
  • twinning;
  • x-ray diffraction