X-ray Diffraction (XRD)


What is X-ray Diffraction?


X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) is a rapid analytical technique primarily used for the phase identification of a crystalline material and can provide information on unit cell dimensions. The analyzed material is finely ground, homogenized, and average bulk composition is determined. 


Typical applications for XRD include:

  • Characterization of crystalline materials
  • Identification of fine-grained minerals such as clays and mixed layer clays that are difficult to determine optically
  • Measurement of sample purity
  • Identification of corrosion products
  • Identification of organic and inorganic crystalline materials
  • Analysis of water scale/deposits
  • Identification and quality assessment of pharmaceuticals



For most samples there is minimal sample preparation and only requires the sample be in solid powder form that is less than 150 micron in size. Typical sample size for analysis is only 50 milligrams of material. Only a small pile of powder roughly 1 cm (10mm) in diameter is needed for one analysis. This is typically enough powder to cover the head of Abraham Lincoln on a standard US penny.