Examination of Single Crystals: Optical and X-Ray Diffraction Practice

  • Mark Ladd
  • Rex Palmer


The preliminary optical examination of crystalline specimens is interesting and useful in its own right and is a major tool still employed by mineralogists and geologists. However, in structure determinations with modern equipment, it is not uncommon nowadays to by-pass this step and proceed immediately with X-ray studies. This is because in most cases, the X-ray technique is straightforward and test data can be quickly scanned with a single-crystal X-ray diffractometer, Sects. 5.5 and 5.6, or with area detector (see Sect. 5.7), and the suitability and quality of the crystal assessed. There are other situations, however, where complications may arise, for example, because of an unusual crystal habit, Sect. 5.3.5, pseudosymmetry, Sects. 7.2.2, 7.5.4, and Sect. 8.5.3, or twinning, Sect. 5.10. In such cases, it might be possible to extract useful information from an optical examination of a crystal before the more detailed, costly and time-consuming X-ray methods are tried.


Uniaxial Crystal Vibration Direction Extinction Direction Biaxial Crystal Composition Plane 
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Data Collection Services

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Ladd
    • 1
  • Rex Palmer
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.University of SurreyGuildfordEngland
  2. 2.Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonEngland
  3. 3.University of GreenwichLondonEngland
  4. 4.Christ Church UniversityCanterburyEngland

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