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Requirements for Users of the X-ray Diffraction Laboratory

The X-ray diffraction laboratory in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is open to all University of New Mexico personnel who are interested in obtaining diffraction data for their samples. The laboratory can be used for powder samples (rock, clay minerals, experimental materials), thin film samples, and nano-materials requiring particle size analysis. We do not have the capability of doing single-crystal work in our laboratory. Details about all instrumentation available in the laboratory may be found here.

Training is now available on all three of our Laboratory Instruments, the Scintag PADV system, the Rigaku SmartLab system and the Rigaku D/maX Rapid II system. Advanced analytic techniques on the Rigaku systems are still under development for some types of analysis but we can train users in basic and safe operations of all instruments to get them started.

It is recommended that students and researchers new to X-ray Powder diffraction be familiar with the materials taught in the class: "Introduction to X-Ray Powder Diffraction." While this course is not likely to be offered again in its previous form (chiefly because of our acquisition of two new XRD instruments with capabilities that need to be included in the course) the materials available on the course page can provide a strong self-instructed background to anyone planning to use XRD in their thesis or dissertation research.

Steps for new users to follow to use the XRD Lab

Before laboratory use is permitted, potential users must demonstrate familiarity with basic radiation safety procedures, be trained in the use of the equipment, and make arrangements to pay for their use of the laboratory either on a personal basis or through a PR with Banner Index to the Department.To meet these requirements, there are several steps which must be followed:

Step 1: Contact the Lab Manager (Eric Peterson - and express your interest in using the laboratory.

Before proceeding to the next step, it may be advantageous to meet and discuss the type of analytical work you expect do to discuss the feasibility of your plans before investing in the balance of the lab qualification process.

Step 2: Learn about radiation safety and take and pass a radiation safety examination for X-ray diffraction users.

Because of sophisticated interlocks in our equipment to prevent accidental exposure to X-rays, general users of the laboratory are no longer required to be monitored for radiation exposure in the lab. It is still required that users be familiar with dose limits and general safety principles so all prospective lab users must follow the steps below:

  1. Contact UNM Radiation Safety and obtain an XRD training packet and dosimetry module. These materials can be obtained in person at the address listed below, but it is easiest to contact Andrew Buchan via Email ( and he can send the materials electronically to your Email.
  2. Watch the Double Edged Sword Video obtainable online from:
  3. After completing items 1 and 2, contact Radiation Safety again (Email or call to Andrew Buchan) to arrange a time to take the radiation safety quiz . This will be done in-person at the Radiation Safety office.
  4. After passing quiz, receive a "Hands on training" sign-off form from Radiation Safety.
  5. Schedule and complete training on the appropriate instrument (see Section 3 below for details).
  6. Have instructor sign off on the training form after you have successfully completed the hands-on training.
  7. RETURN completed form to Radiation Safety. (Scan and email to or fax to 277-9006 with attn. to Andrew Buchan). Forms may also be sent via campus Mail to MSC07 4100 Attn: Andrew Buchan. Be sure to keep a copy of the signed form for your records.

Contact Information for UNM's Radiation Safety Office:

Safety, Health and Environmental Affairs (SHEA)
University of New Mexico
1801 Tucker NE, Bldg. 233
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Main number: (505) 277 2753

For Radiation Safety Issues contact:
Andrew Buchan
Voice: (505) 277-0317
FAX: (505) 277-9006

Radiation Safety Officer at SHEA:
Jim DeZetter
Voice: (505) 277-0315

Dosimetry Note: The only lab users required to have dosimeters are those at the lab management level who might be required to bypass safety interlocks in the course of setup or reconfiguration of the systems (i.e., changing of X-ray sources, manual physical alignments, etc.). The requirements for training for management-level users are not included on this page. For reference, as of May 2013 the following information is pertinent to the EPS XRD laboratory related to dosimeter distribution and control:
Badge Location Number: 45975967
Location Name: Earth/Plan Sci
Badge Coordinator: Cindy Jaramillo
Permit Holder: Horton Newsom, Ph.D.

Step 3: Schedule and obtain training on use of the appropriate instrument for your work.

These instruments include:

  • The Scintag PadV Powder diffractometer (and the MDI DataScan Software control software)
  • The Rigaku SmartLab instrument (and associated SmartLab Guidance software)
  • The Rigaku D/maX Rapid II instrument (and associated RapidXRD, Raxvideo and XGControl software)

It is assumed that prior to training the user is familiar with the basic methodology of X-ray diffraction. This training includes startup and shutdown procedures for the instrument chosen, basic procedures for loading and aligning a sample and collecting data; training takes about 3 hours to complete. When you have completed steps 1 and 2 above, contact Eric Peterson at 470-1076 (or via Email to to arrange a time for training. Each trainee should bring with them the training documents from Radiation Safety (item 2 above) and something on which they can take notes. There is a fee of $255 required for basic training to qualify to use each instrument (equivalent to three hours of lab use at "Lab Operator"). Click on this link to access the details about instrument training and rates.

Step 4: Arrange for payment for your work:

    • Payment through UNM Accounts: Lab users must arrange for funds to be available for payment for lab use. Users are required to provide proof of available funds in the form of a PR (Purchase Requisition) prepared by their department that includes a Banner index number, the name of the PI responsible for the indexed account, and a limiting maximum dollar amount. We bill for use approximately quarterly and require this information before work is done to minimize possible problems with billing. Any lab users who require billing more promptly than our quarterly billing schedule should contact the lab manager so that this may be arranged. We only invoice accounts as work is actually done and billed.
    • Rate Information: XRD patterns on the Scintag system are $35 per pattern/sample for work billed to UNM accounts with the data collected by trained and qualified lab users. The use of the Rigaku SmartLab and Rapid II systems is billed at an hourly rate that varies depending on who is doing the work, when it is done, and the type of work (academic or commercial). The full rate schedule is available as an Acrobat PDF by clicking here.
    • Personal Payments: We accept cash or check for payment for personal work done in the laboratory. Credit card payments may be arranged after you are invoiced (but not before); contact information will be on the invoice that you receive. Indicate that the work is personal in the logbook and we will invoice you at billing time.
  • Only personnel affiliated with the University of New Mexico (faculty, staff, students, post-doctoral fellows, etc.) are permitted to use the laboratory. The only outside users permitted are those who are working with and are sponsored by UNM faculty in a University-administered research program. All lab users must have a UNM NetID.

    Laboratory personnel or other qualified analysts at UNM can do work for outside users (i.e., other Universities, government agencies and private corporations) on a contract basis. See the full Lab Rate Schedule document for fee schedules for work done for other universities, private corporations or individuals, and for preparation of reports and/or special sample preparation. If you are interested doing this sort of work for a third-party or in having it done for you by lab personnel, please contact the Lab Manager, Eric Peterson, by Email ( for details.

    A comprehensive schedule of fees for laboratory work is available upon request from the Lab Manager. To have one sent via Email, please send your request to using the subject "XRD Lab Rates" and include some information about yourself and what you are interested in analyzing in the body of the Email.

    Updated August 31, 2013. Please send comment about (and suggested additions to) this page to

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