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|Modules ||Crystalline Materials |
|Concepts ||crystal coordinate systems, Miller indices, introduction to x-rays, generation of x-rays |
|Keywords ||Bravais lattice, crystal system, unit cell, face-centered cubic, simple cubic, body-centered cubic, Miller indices, crystallography, crystallographic notation, lattice constant, close-packing, packing density, lattice point, interplanar spacing, gas discharge tube, x-ray tube, target anode, discovery of x-rays, scintillation screen, characteristic emission lines, Kα, Kβ, Lα, Lβ, William H. Miller, Wilhelm Röntgen |
|Chemical Substances ||barium platinum cyanide (BaPt(CN)4), copper (Cu), brass (Cu-Zn), zinc (Zn), wood, steel |
|Applications ||x-ray spectroscopy, medical/dental x-rays, quality assurance of welds, airport baggage scans |
Before starting this session, you should be familiar with:
- Basic 3D coordinate geometry and trigonometry, including vectors and planes
- Photon frequency, wavelength, and energy (Session 3)
- Atomic absorption and emission of photons (Session 4)
- Cubic crystal structures (Session 15)
Session 17 and Session 18 explain more about the use of x-rays for investigating the structure of crystals and molecules.
After completing this session, you should be able to:
- Calculate key properties of the cubic lattices, such as atoms per unit cell, nearest and second-nearest neighbor distances, packing density, and the relationship between atomic radius r and lattice constant a.
- Write the Miller indices for any direction, plane, or family of directions or planes, and calculate the distance and angle between any two directions and/or planes.
- Given a material and a crystal direction or plane, sketch the appropriate crystal structure and indicate the correct direction or plane on the sketch.
- Explain how x-rays were produced in 1895, and how Röntgen’s experimental observations lead him to conclude that they were a previously unknown form of electromagnetic radiation.
- Explain how the properties of x-rays produce the observed results in the following applications: dental x-rays; quality assurance of welds; airport baggage scans.
- Relate the energies of the characteristic emission lines (Kα, Kβ, etc.) for a given element to the electron shell structure of that element.
Archived Lecture Notes #4 (PDF), Section 4
Archived Lecture Notes #5 (PDF), Section 1
|Book Chapters ||Topics |
|[A&E] 12.2, "The Arrangement of Atoms in Crystalline Solids." ||The unit cell; packing of spheres |
| [JS] 3.2, "Metal Structures." ||Body-centered cubic, face-centered cubic/cubic close-packed, and hexagonal close-packed structures; atomic packing factor; plane stacking |
| [JS] 3.6, "Lattice Positions, Directions, and Planes." ||Lattice points and translations; lattice directions and planes; Miller indices; families of directions and planes; planar and linear atomic density |
Lecture Slides (PDF)
Miller indices are a standard mathematical notation describing planes in crystals, derived from where the plane intercepts each coordinate axis. In a specific material with a known lattice constant and crystal structure, this allows the calculation of angles and distances between planes and directions of interest. For convenience, crystallographers sometimes refer to families of planes or directions, which all have the same indices but use different origins.
X-rays are well-suited for measuring atomic-level structure because their wavelengths are of the same order as typical lattice constants. Such short wavelengths require high energies, typically created by sending high-voltage electrons into an anode, where they ionize electrons from the lowest energy levels. Electrons from higher energy levels cascade down to replace them, emitting photons with a highly characteristic set of wavelengths, corresponding to the specific energy levels of the anode material. The discovery of x-rays by Wilhelm Röntgen in 1895 heralded the development of many important modern technologies, including medical radiography, security screening, and industrial inspection of metal parts.
[JS] Chapter 3, Sample Problems 8-10, 13-19; Practice Problems 11-14, 16-21
For Further Study
Textbook Study Materials
See the [A&E] companion website from Pearson for PowerPoint outlines of each chapter, plus online quizzes, interactive graphs and 3D molecular animations:
Thomas, A. M. K. The Invisible Light: 100 Years of Medical Radiology. Cambridge, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 1995. ISBN: 9780865426276.
William Hallowes Miller
Wilhelm Röntgen – 1901 Nobel Prize in Physics
Other OCW and OER Content
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