Vector module

From Online Dictionary of Crystallography

Synonyms: Z-module, Fourier module

Module vectoriel (Fr). Vektormodul (Ge). Modulo vettoriale (It).


A vector module is the set of vectors spanned by a number n of basis vectors with integer coefficients. The basis vectors should be independent over the integers, which means that any linear combination [math]\sum_i m_i a_i[/math] with mi integers is equal to zero if, and only if, all coefficients mi are zero. The term Z-module is sometimes used to underline the condition that the coefficients are integers. The number of basis vectors is the rank of the vector module.


An n-dimensional lattice in an n-dimensional vector space is an example of a vector module, with rank n. In reciprocal space, the reciprocal lattice corresponding to a crystallographic structure is a special case of a vector module. The Bragg peaks for the crystal fall on the positions of the reciprocal lattice. More generally, the Bragg peaks of an m-dimensional aperiodic crystal structure belong to a vector module of rank n, larger than m. To indicate that this module exists in reciprocal space, it is sometimes called the Fourier module.