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IUMSC   Indiana University Molecular Structure Center

X-Rays are electromagnetic waves of short wavelength and high energy. X-Rays are produced when high-energy photons strike a heavy metal target, like molybdenum, copper, or tungsten. X-ray_diffraction is an analytical technique that is used to determine the structure of crystalline materials.

X-rays are ionizing, hazardous radiation. Acute high exposure causes dose-related damage to all tissues and may lead to burns, necrosis (death of cells), or DNA damage resulting in cancer and dysfunctional proteins. X-rays are known to exert profound adverse effects on the developing embryo (leading to birth defects) and on reproductive function in men and women to name but a few. The consequences of long-term, low exposure to ionizing radiation such as X-rays are not well understood, however numerous medical investigations show their harmful effects.

If basic safety procedures are followed when working around X-ray diffraction systems, the safety of the person operating the system is ensured. Therefore it is important to be familiar with the equipment and safety procedures.

All persons operating X-Ray diffraction equipment must complete safety training regarding to various radiation warnings and safety devices incorporated into the equipment. The use of dosimeters may be required.

See also the following resources:
IU Bloomington Radiation Saftey Guide for Users of Analytical X-Ray Systems IU Bloomingtoni Radiation Safety Training for Analytical X-Ray Users

Diffraction occurs as waves interact with a regular structure whose repeat distance is about the same as the wavelength. X-rays have wavelengths on the order of a few Angstroms, the same as typical interatomic distances in crystalline solids. Therefore, X-rays are diffracted from crystalline matter, which has regularly repeating atomic structures.
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Indiana University Molecular Structure Center. Chemistry, A421, Indiana University, 800 E, Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN 47405-7102, 812.855.6821
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