Charles Supper x-ray diffraction camera, 1950-1960.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Made by the Charles Supper Company Incorporated. X-ray diffraction is the means of studying crystalline structure using x-rays. As the rays pas through the crystals they are diffracted, or bent, around the atoms. By measuring the position and intensity of the diffracted rays it is possible to work out the shape and size of the atoms within the crystal.