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Basic Questions

What is X-ray Powder Diffraction?
Brief Introduction to X-ray Powder Diffraction [PDF][HTML]

Do I need a solid sample?
YES

Can X-ray Diffraction alone determine the composition of my material?
No.  You need to know what your material is or what it should be.  X-ray diffraction is not a one step materials characterization experiment. 

Is X-ray Diffraction the first thing I do in characterizing my material?
No.  Normally X-ray Diffraction is the final step of the analysis.

How do I characterize my material?
Seek the help of an analytical chemist, a full scale analytical laboratory or materials characterization laboratory.

Will the X-ray Diffraction Laboratory characterize my material?
We normally provide only data collection for our users.  We will analyze the data if the users will provide us with enough information and the material is in our database.  For our academic users analysis is not included in the hourly charge for the diffractometer.  For our industrial costumers the analysis is included in the fees.

Can X-ray Diffraction determine the composition of an amorphous material?
No.  The material must be crystalline.

Can X-ray Diffraction characterize the phases of known materials?
Yes.  This is called qualitative analysis.

Can X-ray Diffraction determine the amount of material present?
Yes.  If you know what your material is and you have created a standardization curve.  This requires many hours of labor and you may wish to explore other quantitative methods.

Can X-ray Diffraction be used to describe unknown materials?
Yes.  If the material is homogenous, or known materials are present and can be identified.

I have a thin film of material (<10nm) on a silicon wafer.  Can Normal X-ray Diffraction tell me what it is?
Not recommended.  You should use a grazing angle diffractometer not a normal X-ray diffractometer.

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Steps necessary to understand your results.

  •  Know what you want to do!

Do your home work! 

If you have a research paper that explains what you want to do e-mail it to us with your request.  Be specific!

  • Write down what you want to do!

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If you send us the message first it will give us time to research your request and to give you the best answer.  If necessary we can talk at a later date to flesh out the details.

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