Powder diffraction is complementary to the book's main technique of single-crystal diffraction; it can provide a check on purity and homogeneity of samples, and may be the only possible approach for some materials. The two methods are compared. The main limitation in powder diffraction is the one-dimensional nature of the data. Many variants are possible for the basic powder diffraction experiment: data may be measured in reflection or transmission mode, with monochromatic radiation and angle scanning, or with an energy-dispersive arrangement, and there are different kinds of detector available. Careful corrections for various effects are necessary for high accuracy. A powder diffraction pattern may be used for phase identification, qualitative and quantitative analysis of mixtures, information on grain size, strain, and preferred orientation. Reflection indexing and intensity profile measurement can lead to structure solution and refinement by Rietveld methods. Powder diffraction is well suited to non-ambient studies (temperature and pressure).
Keywords: powder diffraction, reflection modes, transmission modes, energy-dispersive diffraction, phase identification, quantitative analysis, profile analysis, Rietveld refinement, structure determination, non-ambient conditions
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