A detailed model for the crystal structure of the fibrous polysaccharide chitin is proposed. The structure determination has been carried out by using an optical analogue instrument which proved to be an adequate and rapid tool for the derivation of Fourier transforms, signs of amplitudes and the production of optical Fourier syntheses. The new model of chitin accounts properly for known chemical and physical properties, including the infrared absorption as well as for x-ray data, but because of the limited resolution of the diffraction patterns it can only be regarded as a good approximation. The stereochemical configuration of the polysaccharide chains has certain implications for the structure of cellulose.

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