This chapter, which assumes a familiarity with basic crystallography, introduces the concept of structure determination from powder diffraction data. It does so by examining the ‘structure determination maze’, which describes the various possible routes that one can take from the polycrystalline sample to a refined crystal structure. In so doing, it introduces the various stages of the process that are discussed in much greater detail in subsequent chapters. Touching briefly on the relationship between single-crystal and powder structure solution methods, it concludes with a forward look to the range of applications of powder methods to structure determination problems in the particular area of molecular organic compounds.
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