measurement of X-ray wavelengths proved to be very difficult because they are so short. In
1912, however, von Laue used a crystal in an attempt to diffract the X-rays after failing to do
this with ordinary optical-style diffraction gratings, and was successful.
His work was followed up by Friedrich and Knipping, and good X-ray diffraction patterns were produced. To give diffraction the obstacles must be only a few wavelengths apart and so the atoms in a crystal lattice were ideal for X-ray diffraction since their separation is about 10-10 m (0.1 nm). Sir William and his son Sir Lawrence Bragg used a crystal as a reflection diffraction grating.
In the diagram a beam of X-rays of wavelength λ is incident at a glancing angle θ on a crystal where the atomic planes are separated by a distance d.
The path difference between the waves reflected at the top plane and those reflected at the second plane is ABC = 2dsinθ.
Constructive interference occurs when this path difference is equal to a whole number of wavelengths. Therefore: