Thinking in Reciprocal Space

  • David B. Williams
  • C. Barry Carter


In the previous chapter, you’ve already encountered vectors k and g and seen that they have lengths with units of nm−1. These vectors are referred to as reciprocal-lattice vectors. Now we are going to discuss what this reciprocal lattice is. The reciprocal lattice is simply a lattice in reciprocal space. Note that this lattice is just as real as the ‘real lattice’ in ‘real’ space. It’s like a new world in Gulliver’s Travels but the relationship to ‘our’ world is not a linear scaling factor but a reciprocal one. If something (an object or a length) is large in real space, then it’s small in reciprocal space.


Real Space Reciprocal Lattice Reciprocal Space Diffraction Spot Bragg Condition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Cruickshank, DWJ, Juretschke, HJ, and Kato, N (Eds.) 1992 PP Ewald and His Dynamical Theory of X-ray Diffraction Oxford University Press New York. When you have time.Google Scholar
  2. Ewald, PP 1962 Fifty Years of X-ray Diffraction NVA Oosthoek’s Uitgeversmaatschappij Utrecht Netherlands. Includes a description of how Ewald developed his description of reciprocal space. PP Ewald was Hans Bethe’s father-in-law.Google Scholar

Reciprocal Space

  1. Cullity, BD and Stock, SR 2001 Elements of X-Ray Diffraction 3rd Ed. Addison-Wesley Reading MA. The latest edition of the standard known simply as ‘Cullity.’Google Scholar
  2. James, RW 1965 The Optical Principles of the Diffraction of X-Rays, The Crystalline State II Ed. WL Bragg Cornell University Press Ithaca NY (first published in 1948). Special.Google Scholar
  3. Schwartz, LH and Cohen, JB 1987 Diffraction from Materials, 2nd Ed. Springer New York. An alternative to Cullity.Google Scholar
  4. Suryanarayana, C and Norton, MG 1998 X-Ray Diffraction: A Practical Approach Springer New York. Practical and different.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Alabama in HuntsvilleHuntsvilleUSA
  2. 2.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

Personalised recommendations