What to Look for in an XRD Instrument for Material Analysis?

X-ray diffraction (XRD) is a powerful analytical technique suitable for analysing a material’s bulk physical properties, such as crystalline structure and phase composition. It is commonly used in research and industry as XRD helps scientists characterise solid solutions, identify patterns, and many other applications. A wide range of XRD instruments are available for researchers to conduct XRD accurately. These come in various configurations and can be customised to meet clients’ specific needs. In this blog post, we explore what key features to consider when choosing an XRD instrument for material analysis.

What is X-ray Diffraction? Learn more through Bruker’s YouTube video.

XRD Instrument Components

There are three key components of an XRD instrument: an X-ray tube, an X-ray detector and a sample holder. These are all crucial for accurate and reliable measurements and are often used with appropriate data analysis software.

X-ray Tube

XRD instruments need a source of X-rays, and one of the most common options is an X-ray tube. Within the tube is a filament which, when heated, produces electrons. These electrons are accelerated towards the target material by charging them with a voltage. When considering what X-ray source to choose, cost, power, and stability are important.

Sample Stage or Holder 

The sample stage holds the sample in position, but it can also rotate to allow analysis from different angles. Obtaining accurate measurements heavily depends on the sample preparation methods and the sample’s placement on the stage. These are available in various configurations, such as multi-axis, non-rotating, and rotating, each with advantages.

X-ray Detector

As the name suggests, the X-ray detector detects the X-rays that are directed through the sample and as a result, a diffraction pattern is produced. Detectors are available in the following options: proportional counter, scintillation, and solid-state and important considerations include resolution, sensitivity and speed.

Aspects of an XRD Instrument to Consider

Many aspects of XRD instruments could influence their suitability for an application. These include the electronic, mechanical and performance testing that the instrument has been subjected to, as it must withstand the most demanding applications. 

It is also essential to consider the software available for each instrument. An appropriate software package should offer multiple methods of extracting and processing data accurately and promptly. Key software considerations include its compatibility with the XRD instrument, suitability for the analysis, whether its user-friendly and the ability to provide reliable results.

Blue Scientific and XRD Solutions

Blue Scientific is based in the UK but distributes marketing-leading scientific instrumentation across the UK, Ireland and the Nordic region. We provide products and services for research, development and process control applications in both academic and industrial markets.

We exclusively distribute XRD instruments for Bruker, which are used in non-destructive material properties characterisation. These include the XRD D8 Discover and New D8 Discover Plus and the N8 HORIZON and NANOSTAR for nanostructure analysis. 

To learn more about choosing the most suitable XRD instrument for your application, don’t hesitate to contact a member of Blue Scientific today.