The Interactive Structure Factor Tutorial

Welcome to the structure factor tutorial! The aim of this tutorial is to learn about structure factors, phases, symmetry, and the relationship between the structure factors and the electron density map. The tutorial uses an interactive tool, the `structure factor applet'.

The structure factor applet has four windows. Top left is the control window, in which you can select reflections and set their values by entering values in the text boxes. Several buttons allow you to modify the structure factor values in the map and the diffraction pattern. Top right is the structure factor window, which shows the current diffraction pattern. Bottom left is the reflection window, with which you can view or modify magnitudes and phases. Bottom right is the map window, showing the unit cell and electron density.

The applet window

Amplitudes and phases are encoded as colours using the same scheme as the Fourier picturebook.


  1. Miller Indices.
  2. Structure factors (1).
  3. Structure factors (2).
  4. Symmetry (1).
  5. Symmetry (2).
  6. Symmetry (3).
  7. Pattersons (1).
  8. Pattersons (2).
  9. Direct Methods.

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Kevin Cowtan: