This game is a fun way to discover the world of crystals and their symmetries through diffraction.
Crystals are all around us: in our environment (rocks and minerals, etc), in our bodies (sugar, bones, gallstones, etc.) and in technology (metals and alloys, silicon and quartz used for microelectronics, etc.). By successively discovering the diffraction of X-rays, neutrons and electrons, scientists in the twentieth century threw the door to the microscopic world wide open by demonstrating that crystals are made up of atoms and molecules and explaining their structure.
Crystals are characterised by the fact that their constituents are arranged in a highly ordered structure. This internal order and its symmetry is clearly visible in the diffraction patterns produced by any crystal. It is this symmetry which is also gives crystals their often amazing shapes, making them highly prized by rockhounds.
Whether you are a senior scientist, a student, or just curious about science, vDiffraction is a serious game that will let you try your hand at crystal diffraction so that you can begin to understand how scientists identify the symmetry characteristics of a crystal. This is the first, crucial step towards understanding the atomic and molecular structure of a crystalline material, in other words what type of atoms and molecules make up the crystal and how they are organised.