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Crystals, X-rays and ProteinsComprehensive Protein Crystallography$
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Dennis Sherwood and Jon Cooper

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199559046

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559046.001.0001

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(p.184) 6 Diffraction
Crystals, X-rays and Proteins

Dennis Sherwood

Jon Cooper

Oxford University Press

This chapter covers the principles of the interaction of waves with obstacles and the manner in which information on the nature of an obstacle is contained within the resulting wave forms. The essential mathematics of the interaction of a wave with a perturbing obstacle are derived from first principles and the key significance of the Fourier transform is described in depth — essentially the diffraction pattern of an object is given by the Fourier transform of that object and, most importantly, an image of an object can be obtained by calculating an inverse Fourier transform of its diffraction pattern. The chapter then introduces one of the key experimental limitations of diffraction analysis — the inability to measure the phases of diffracted waves and hence the need for complex computational methods to determine the phases which are outlined in the final chapters of the book.

Keywords:   interaction of waves, obstacles, diffraction, X-ray diffraction, Fourier transforms, phase

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