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Fundamental notions concerning absolute structure and absolute configuration, and their determination from single-crystal diffraction measurements, are presented and reviewed. A glossary of terms with definitions useful in this field is provided. For absolute structure and its determination, the separate but interacting influences of the structure and the inversion-distinguishing power of an X-ray diffraction experiment with dispersive scatterers are examined. Important experimental and algorithmic details of the current methods used for absolute-structure determination are provided. Characterization of crystals for absolute-structure determination and of molecules for absolute-configuration determination are treated. Attention is given to the analysis of absolute structure and absolute configuration in twinned crystals.
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