Bragg Spectrometer

photo of the Bragg Spectrometer

This is a commercial version of William Henry Bragg's X-ray spectrometer, developed while he was at Leeds. When X-rays pass through the regular arrangements of atoms and molecules in crystals and fibres, they are scattered (or 'diffracted') giving rise to complex patterns. In this particular instrument, these complex patterns were then observed using an ionisation chamber, although later versions used photographic plates. Bragg's son, William Lawrence, then a research student at the University of Cambridge derived an equation (Bragg's Law) that allowed him to work out from these patterns how the atoms and molecules are arranged within a crystal. Then, by using the X-ray spectrometer, the powerful new technique of X-ray crystallography was born.

On loan from the Department of Physics

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