X-ray crystallography
The use of X-rays of known wavelength to learn the structure of any crystalline material. Put otherwise, X-ray crystallography is a technology by which the locations of atoms in any crystal can be precisely mapped by looking at the image of the crystal under an X-ray beam. The crystal is placed in the beam of X-rays and the angles of diffraction of the X-rays are recorded as a series of spots on photographic film. This method (called the Laue method after the German physicist Max Theodor Felix von Laue) has been employed to determine and measure the physical structure of many materials. One example of the use of X-ray crystallography has been our understanding of the structure and function of hemoglobin and its close relative, myoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein that transports oxygen from the lungs to the tissues via red blood cells while myoglobin is its counterpart in muscle that stores oxygen and gives it up to muscle cells as needed. In 1962 Max Perutz and John C. Kendrew from Cambridge University shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for their brilliant X-ray diffraction analyses of hemoglobin (Perutz) and myoglobin (Kendrew).

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X-ray crystallography n an analytical technique in which X-ray diffraction is used to obtain information about the identity or structure of a crystalline substance

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the determination of the three-dimensional structure of molecules by means of diffraction patterns produced by x-rays of crystals of the molecules.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • X-ray crystallography — n. the study of the structural arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules within a crystalline substance, using the diffraction patterns created by bombarding the substance with X rays …   English World dictionary

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  • x-ray crystallography — noun Usage: usually capitalized X : an analytical technique in which X ray diffraction is used to obtain information about the identity or structure of a crystalline substance • x crystallographic adjective, usually capitalized X …   Useful english dictionary

  • x-ray crystallography — Crystall. the determination of the structure of a crystal by the use of x ray diffraction. [1925 30] * * * …   Universalium

  • X-ray crystallography — /ˌɛks reɪ krɪstəˈlɒgrəfi/ (say .eks ray kristuh logruhfee) noun the study of a crystalline substance by observing the diffraction patterns which occur when a beam of X rays is passed through it …   Australian English dictionary

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  • X-ray crystallography — noun the study of crystals and their structure by means of the diffraction of X rays by the regularly spaced atoms of crystalline materials …   English new terms dictionary

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