X-Ray Diffraction

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    X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)

    X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) is a characterization technique used for crystalline materials. X-ray diffraction patterns are unique to the periodic atomic arrangements in a specimen and are widely used for phase identification. In a diffractometer, incident X-rays are scattered (diffracted) at specific angles from the sample’s lattice planes, resulting in diffraction peaks characteristic of simple’s crystal structure. The diffraction patterns give information like phase, atomic plane spacing (d-spacing), crystal structure, preferred orientation (texture), average grain size, crystallinity, strain, crystallite size, crystal defects, etc.

    X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) is used extensively for mineral exploration, identification of new and unknown materials, substrate characterization in integrated circuit production, protein crystallography, solid-state drug analysis, etc. Various XRD configurations are available to suit the type of application.

      XRD Variants

      • X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) Typically used for the analysis of polycrystalline substances. Samples can be powder, solid, pellet, or thin-films.
      • X-ray reflectivity (XRR) Good option for multi-layer thin-films characterization for information like layer thickness, density, composition, roughness, etc.
      • High-resolution XRD (HRXRD) Mostly used for single crystal (epitaxial) thin films and substrate analysis.
        Grazing incidence XRD (GI-XRD) Suitable for polycrystalline, substrate deposited, or ion-irradiated thin-films, where traditional XRD might penetrate too deep into the substrate.
      • Micro XRD Widely used for micron to nm scale crystallographic exploration of samples.

      XRD Common Uses

      • Phase identification in bulk, powder, and thin-film samples
      • Phase analysis, crystallite size, preferred orientation in polycrystalline compounds.
      • Crystalline vs. amorphous percentages in samples
      • Crystallography in a wide range of samples, including inorganic and organic materials, polymers, metals, alloys, composites, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, minerals, and nanomaterials
      • Detection of faults and defects in crystalline structures, strain distribution in semiconductor materials, residual stress in bulk materials, crystalline impurities in the glass, ceramics, etc.


      • Non-destructive, high-sensitive, and reliable testing
      • Fast run times (~20 minutes)
      • Easy sample preparation and operation
      • Wide range of acceptable samples (single crystal, bulk/powdered, amorphous materials)
      • Databases with standard diffraction patterns available for thousands of materials
      • Acceptable thin-films size range: 10um to 2nm
      • Easy to interpret qualitative and quantitative data


      • Hard to characterize mixed, non-homogenous, multi-phase samples, and non-isometric crystals.
      • High angle reflections can result in peak overlay.
      • No depth profile information
      • Minimum spot size of ~ 20µm


      Thin-films and coatings
      Glass Manufacturing
      Heavy Metals and Alloys
      Energy storage and Batteries
      Forensic Science
      Automotive Materials
      Biomedical Research
      Materials Research

      XRD Laboratories

      Evans Analytical Group (EAG) Laboratories
      Element Materials Technology
      Intertek Group Plc.
      Attard’s Minerals
      S&N Labs
      EMSL Analytical, Inc.
      Applied Technical Services

      More Details

      Understanding X-ray diffraction
      Basics of X-ray powder diffraction
      XRD at Nano-scale
      XRD Variants and applications
      XRD in materials science research


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        FAQ on X-Ray Diffraction (XRD)

        Our network of material testing labs regularly provides XRD testing for the crystallography of single-crystal substrates, characterizes pharmaceuticals, trace element analysis, etc. for a wide range of samples and industries.

        Phase ID and qualitative analysis of materials start from $350/sample.

        XRD is used to measure the crystalline content of materials; identify the crystalline phases present; determine the spacing between lattice planes and the length scales over which they persist, and study preferential ordering and epitaxial growth of crystallites from angstroms to nanoscales.

        Both operate on the same working principles of X-ray scattering. While XRF provides the chemical composition of the sample and is used for rapid surface analysis of samples, XRD is often used to identify the crystalline phases, differentiate oxidation states, and obtain other crystallographic information.