Crystallography

Crystallography

Primarily via laboratory X-ray diffraction, but also synchrotron X-ray, neutron and
electron diffraction, crystallographic methods provide a direct measure of the atomic
arrangements of materials: from simple metals up to large protein complexes. This
knowledge allows explanation of materials properties and performance. Normally,
most university or industrial research departments involved in studying new materials
would have at least one type of X-ray diffraction system for crystallographic studies.

Crystallography and Nobel Prizes

The field of crystallography has been the basis of a variety of Nobel prizes, including:

  • 1914 Physics: M.Von Laue – Diffraction of X-rays by crystals
  • 1915 Physics: W.H.Bragg & W.L.Bragg – Use of X-rays to determine crystal structure
  • 1937 Physics: C.J.Davisson & G.Thompson – Diffraction of electrons by crystals
  • 1954 Chemistry: L.C.Pauling – for his research into the nature of the chemical bond
  • 1962 Physiology or Medicine: F.Crick, J.Watson & M.Wilkins – The structure of DNA
  • 1962 Chemistry: J.C.Kendrew & M.Perutz – studies of the structures of globular proteins
  • 1964 Chemistry: D.Hodgkin – Structure of biochemical substances including Vitamin B-2
  • 1985 Chemistry: H.Hauptmanm & J.Karle – development of direct methods for the┬ádetermination of crystal structures
  • 1988 Chemistry: J.Deisenhofer, R.Huber & H.Michel – for the determination of the three-dimensional structure of a photosynthetic reaction centre
  • 1994 Physics: C.Shull & N.Brockhouse – Neutron scattering and diffraction
  • 1997 Chemistry: P.D.Boyer, J.E.Walker & J.C.Skou – elucidation of the enzymatic┬ámechanism underlying the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
  • 2009 Chemistry: V. Ramakrishnan, A. Yonath and T. Steitz – 3D structure of the ribosome
  • 2011 Chemistry: D.┬áShechtman –┬áfor the discovery of quasicrystals