X-ray diffraction

X-ray diffraction

Phenomenon in which the atoms of a crystal, by virtue of their uniform spacing, cause an interference pattern of the waves in an incident beam of X-rays. The crystal's atomic planes act on the X-rays in the same way a uniformly ruled grating acts on a beam of light (see polarization). The interference pattern is specific to each substance and gives information on the structure of the atoms or molecules in the crystal. See also William Henry Bragg.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on X-ray diffraction, visit Britannica.com.

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