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Crystallography is the experimental science of determining the arrangement of atoms in crystalline solids. Crystallography is a fundamental subject in the fields of materials science and solid-state physics (condensed matter physics). The word crystallography is derived from the Ancient Greek word κρύσταλλος (krústallos; "clear ice, rock-crystal"), and γράφειν (gráphein; "to 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.Before the development of X-ray diffraction crystallography (see below), the study of crystals was based on physical measurements of their geometry using a goniometer. This involved measuring the angles of crystal faces relative to each other and to theoretical reference axes (crystallographic axes), and establishing the symmetry of the crystal in question. The position in 3D space of each crystal face is plotted on a stereographic net such as a Wulff net or Lambert net. The pole to each face is plotted on the net. Each point is labelled with its Miller index. The final plot allows the symmetry of the crystal to be established. Crystallographic methods depend mainly on analysis of the diffraction patterns of a sample targeted by a beam of some type. X-rays are most commonly used; other beams used include electrons or neutrons. Crystallographers often explicitly state the type of beam used, as in the terms X-ray crystallography, neutron diffraction and electron diffraction. These three types of radiation interact with the specimen in different ways. X-rays interact with the spatial distribution of electrons in the sample. Neutrons are scattered by the atomic nuclei through the strong nuclear forces, but in addition, the magnetic moment of neutrons is non-zero. They are therefore also scattered by magnetic fields. When neutrons are scattered from hydrogen-containing materials, they produce diffraction patterns with high noise levels. However, the material can sometimes be treated to substitute deuterium for hydrogen. Because of these different forms of interaction, the three types of radiation are suitable for different crystallographic studies. Electrons are charged particles and therefore interact with the total charge distribution of both the atomic nuclei and the electrons of the sample.It is hard to focus x-rays or neutrons, but since electrons are charged they can be focused and are used in electron microscope to produce magnified images. There are many ways that transmission electron microscopy and related techniques such as scanning transmission electron microscopy, high-resolution electron microscopy can be used to obtain images with in many cases atomic resolution from which crystallographic information can be obtained. There are also other methods such as low-energy electron diffraction, low-energy electron microscopy and reflection high-energy electron diffraction which can be used to obtain crystallographic information about surfaces.

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Wikipedia contributors. "Crystallography." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, March 23, 2024.

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