Reliable knowledge of the complex x-ray form factor [Re(f ) and f] and the photoelectric attenuation coefficient PE) is required for crystallography, medical diagnosis, radiation safety, and XAFS studies. Discrepancies between currently used theoretical approaches of 200% exist for numerous elements from 1 to 3 keV x-ray energies. The key discrepancies are due to the smoothing of edge structure, the use of nonrelativistic wave functions, and the lack of appropriate convergence of wave functions. This paper addresses these key discrepancies and derives new theoretical results of substantially higher accuracy in near-edge soft x-ray regions. The high-energy limitations of the current approach are also illustrated. The energy range covered is 0.1 to 10 keV. The associated figures and tabulation demonstrate the current comparison with alternate theory and with available experimental data. In general, experimental data are not sufficiently accurate to establish the errors and inadequacies of theory at this level. However, the best experimental data and the observed experimental structure as a function of energy are strong indicators of the validity of the current approach. New developments in experimental measurement hold great promise in making critical comparisons with theory in the near future.

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