Crystalline Solids: Diffraction

  • Henri AlloulEmail author
Part of the Graduate Texts in Physics book series (GTP)


Our main concern in this book is to describe the electronic properties of crystalline solids. The existence of translation symmetries associated with such ordered crystal structures leads to specific features in the electronic structure and to a specific representation of the energy states in wave vector space. In Sect. 2.1, we explain how a crystal structure can be described formally by defining a crystal lattice of non-material points together with a repeated material motif, known as the basis. This periodic structure of matter causes diffraction of electromagnetic waves, or equivalently, of quantum particles. We shall see in Sect. 2.2 that these diffraction phenomena lead to the notion of reciprocal lattice in wave vector space, and this will be important later for characterising the electronic states of these solids. In Sect. 2.3, we outline the experimental methods used to determine the crystal structures of solids using diffraction methods.


Lattice Point Lattice Plane Reciprocal Lattice Plastic Crystal Primitive Cell 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physique des SolidesUniversité Paris-Sud XI, CNRSOrsayFrance

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