Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I threw this image of one of my protein crystal's diffraction pattern (not the greatest) on a poster, and was wondering where (what reciprocal dimension) the ice rings are located as it might be a useful reference (or talking point).

While I can find information about water ice's unit cell parameters (4.5 Å, 7.3 Å), I'm not sure if these are where the reflections would be located (the inner two rings seem far too close for that disparity, and I believe the outer two rings are at a much higher resolution (< 3 Å)

enter image description here

share|cite|improve this question
Is this off-topic or otherwise bad for Physics.SE? – Nick T Nov 12 '11 at 3:05
No, I think this is a great question. The downvote is odd, because if there is a good reason for it, it is certainly not an obvious reason. – Colin K Nov 12 '11 at 3:48
I assume that somebody didn't like a question with no mention of string theory or symmetry groups. :) – Colin K Nov 12 '11 at 3:50
I didn't DV, but I can see why - the "ice rings" are more properly called "DeBye-Scherrer" rings, and their precise location will depend on the wavelength of the incident radiation. Further, the diffractograms are typically pictures of reciprocal space, so discussing the d-spacing of ice on a reciprocal space map requires some basic calculation, but it is not evident from the picture which map is used. So, question at its heart is a good one, but as written is riddled with errors. – Jen Nov 12 '11 at 10:37
Jen described the reasons for my downvote very well. No geometry of this "poster", no wavelenth, just hope others will do the thinking for him. – Georg Nov 12 '11 at 11:16

I finally found a source; according to Peter Nollert, ice rings are located at:

  • 3.897 Å,
  • 3.669 Å,
  • 3.441 Å,
  • 2.671 Å, and
  • 2.249 Å.

My frame seems to be missing one of the three 3 Å rings, but the 2 Å rings seem plausible.

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.