|MLA Citation:||Bloomfield, Louis A. "Question 1116"|
How Everything Works 21 Jan 2018. 21 Jan 2018 <http://howeverythingworks.org/print1.php?QNum=1116>.
X-ray crystallography is an important tool for materials science and molecular biology. Just as the colored interference patterns that appear on a soap bubble when sunlight reflects from that bubble tell you something about the structure of that soap bubble, so the X-rays that reflect from a crystal tell you something about the structure of that crystal. X-rays experience interference after they reflect from a crystal and the interference patterns can tell you where individual atoms are located within a crystal or within the molecules from which the crystal is made. Materials scientists use this information to understand the crystals they have produced while molecular biologists use it to understand the molecular structures of complicated biological molecules.