Rules for Miller Indices:
For example, if the x-, y-, and z- intercepts are 2, 1, and 3, the Miller
indices are calculated as:
Determine the intercepts of the face along the crystallographic axes, in
terms of unit cell dimensions.
Take the reciprocals
Reduce to lowest terms
Thus, the Miller indices are 3,6,2. If a plane is parallel to an axis,
its intercept is at infinity and its Miller index is zero. A generic Miller
index is denoted by (hkl).
Take reciprocals: 1/2, 1/1, 1/3
Clear fractions (multiply by 6): 3, 6, 2
Reduce to lowest terms (already there)
If a plane has negative intercept, the negative number is denoted by
a bar above the number. Never alter negative numbers. For example,
do not divide -1, -1, -1 by -1 to get 1,1,1. This implies symmetry that
the crystal may not have!
Some General Principles
If a Miller index is zero, the plane is parallel to that axis.
The smaller a Miller index, the more nearly parallel the plane is to the
The larger a Miller index, the more nearly perpendicular a plane is to
Multiplying or dividing a Miller index by a constant has no effect on the
orientation of the plane
Miller indices are almost always small.
Why Miller Indices?
of aminated gif above. Click the pause button, then step through the planes
Using reciprocals spares us the complication of infinite intercepts.
Formulas involving Miller indices are very similar to related formulas
from analytical geometry.
Specifying dimensions in unit cell terms means that the same label can
be applied to any face with a similar stacking pattern, regardless of the
crystal class of the crystal. Face 111 always steps the same way regardless
of crystal system.