What is "phase" information ?

R.N. Leach BMBRNL at leeds.ac.uk
Tue Jan 19 05:59:24 EST 1999


I apologise in advance for asking such a basic question but I've been trying 
to understand some basic principles of X-ray crystallography.
One such principle that still baffles me is what phase information is.
In ordinary light microscopy I have read that this information is not lost, 
and I presume that this is how you then get a visible image, although I'm 
still not exactly sure how.
Following on from my original question is how does heavy atom replacement 
give you the necessary information for solving a crystal structure? Why 
doesn't the original diffraction data work?
I've tried reading around the subject but I just seem to have a mental 
block.Any information / simple analogies / useful references will be 
gratefully received.
Rob Leach, Ph.D.,
School of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology,
University of Leeds,
LEEDS, LS2 9JT




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