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Crystallography is the study of the arrangement of atoms in materials. Typically this is done by measuring the diffraction of radiation by the columns of atoms and planes of atoms in the crystal and then reconstructing the original atomic arrangement. This is one of the key analytical techniques in Materials Science as it is only with a clear understanding of the atomic structure that the properties of materials can be accurately described and understood. The department is actively involved in crystallography using X-rays, neutrons and electrons, with extensive internal facilities allowing a range of X-ray and electron crystallographic measurements.

X-rays offer a highly robust method for many aspects of structure analysis, from crystalline unit-cell parameters and atomic arrangements through to phase analysis and strain.

Electron diffraction offers sub-nanometre spatial resolution allowing diffraction from individual nanostructures, secondary phases and similar inclusions


Banner image: (a) EBSD scan of an individual {1 1 -2 4} deformation twin and smaller {1 1 -2 2} twins acquired at 25 kV with a 0.5 μm step size, inverse pole figure colouring and band contrast, with the {1 1 -2 4} twin outlined in white and the smaller {1 1 -2 2} twins outlined in black. The loading direction is in the horizontal direction. (b) Bright field image of the TEM specimen taken from the boxed region in (a). (c) Electron diffraction pattern from (b) viewed down the [1 4 -5 -3] zone ([2 3 -1] in the three index notation) common to both the matrix and the twin confirming twinning on (-1 2 -1 4). This electron diffraction pattern has been image processed to highlight the -1 2 -1 4 and 1 -2 1 -4 twin spots, which have a low intensity because of their large |g| .  Steven J. Lainé & Kevin M. Knowles,  "Deformation twinning in commercial purity titanium at room temperature", Philosophical Magazine 95:20, 2153-2166 (2015).  For a larger version of the image click here.

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