Anomalous Scattering
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Anomalous Scattering

In X-ray crystallography, anomalous scattering refers to a change in a diffracting X-ray's phase that is unique from the rest of the atoms in a crystal due to strong X-ray absorbance.[1] The amount of energy that individual atoms absorb depends on their atomic number. The relatively light atoms found in proteins such as carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen do not contribute to anomalous scattering at normal X-ray wavelengths used for X-ray crystallography.[2] Thus, in order to observe anomalous scattering, a heavy atom must be native to the protein or a heavy atom derivative should be made. In addition, the X-ray's wavelength should be close to the heavy atom's absorption edge.

See also

Anomalous X-ray scattering

Anomalous Dispersion


  1. ^ Glusker J.P. et al. (1994). Crystal structure analysis for chemists and biologists. Wiley-VCH
  2. ^ Rhodes, G. (2000). Crystallography made crystal clear (2nd ed.). San Diego: Academic Press.

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