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A Resource Page for X-Ray Diffraction

This page is divided into five sections:

Some documents require the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader which may be downloaded free from Adobe Corporation.

Note: For ease in reading, navigating and printing pages linked here, each of the links below will open in a new web browser window (or tab). To get back to this links page when you are done, just close your browser window (or tab) and you will find this one below it.

Local Resources for E&PS XRD Lab Users

Scintag PADV XRD and DataScan 4 "Cookbook"
Adobe Acrobat PDF copy of the step-by-step "cookbook" for using the Scintag PAD V system in our laboratory, revised April 2009 including updated information on printer connections, Jade and recent software changes.
Rigaku SmartLab Operating Procedures Manual
This is the latest version in Adobe Acrobat PDF format of the operating procedures for the Rigaku SmartLab. It is a work in progress and includes the latest "draft" date in the copy (which will be updated as it is expanded and modified). As of this writing it is fairly complete for powder diffraction using the D/teX or Scintillation detectors, but needs many additions for work with thin films, all types of parallel-beam analysis and work with the Anton Paar non-ambient environment stage. These procedures are a brief operational summary of the extensive information available in the Rigaku "Help" for the SmartLab Guidance software which may be obtained with the assistance of the lab manager.
Using Yahoo Calendars to Schedule Lab Time
Adobe Acrobat PDF document that explains how to use Yahoo's online calendar system to schedule the Scintag PAD V diffractometer for use. The password for the account must be obtained personally (or via Email) from Jim Connolly.
Introduction to X-Ray Powder Diffraction Course Information
Every other "odd" year in the Spring we offer a 3 credit course that is an introduction to XRD for students who plan to use the laboratory or just want to learn how to do X-ray powder diffraction. This course page may be used to link to course materials (primarily Acrobat PDF documents) for lab users who want to improve their XRD skills.
McCrone MIcronising Mill Manual
The McCrone Micronizing Mill is the preferred tool for preparing micron-sized powders for powder diffraction work. This document is exatcly the same as what is available to users in the lab and includes procedures for using the mill in our lab. In order to retain good resolution on the original color photographs, this document is quite large (about 9Mb) but only 17 pages. An additional paper from Powder Diffraction from 2012 (643KB Acrobat PDF) that discusses the McCrone Mill is linked here. (added 28-Feb-2013)
Using the BICO Jaw Crusher
The BICO Jaw crusher is used to reduce rock specimens from fist-sized to few-mm-sized granules. This Adobe Acrobat PDF document explains how to use it.
Using the SPEX Shatterbox
The SPEX Shatterbox is used to reduce coarsely ground (few-mm-sized) granules to a fine powder for chemical analysis or XRD. This Adobe Acrobat documents explains its use in detail, and includes tables of maximum and minimum amounts of material used in the different size and type of shatterbox containers. This equipment is located in the Geochemistry lab (Rm 213) in Northrop Hall and access is controlled by Dr. Abdul Mehdi-Ali ( -- Phone 277-1637)
Using the Retch-Brinkman Micro-Rapid Mill
The Micro-Rapid Mill has been replaced in the lab by the McCrone Micronizing Mill (linked above) because this device is difficult to use and found to be less effective as a general particle size reducing tool. It is no longer located in the X-ray diffraction lab (modified 28-Feb-2013).

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X-Ray Diffraction and Crystallography Tutorials

Matter Online Tutorial on Diffraction
Excellent interactive tutorial on all aspects of diffraction phenomena, with a section on XRD. Produced by a non-profit consortium of Materials Science departments in Universities in the UK. Highly recommended.
Introduction to X-Ray Diffraction
A very good online introductory tutorial to X-ray diffraction (and scattering) from the Materials Research Laboratory at the University of California at Santa Barbara. While comprehensive as an introduction, the emphasis (naturally) leans toward applications that are most useful in various areas of materials science.
Scintag XRD Basics (Acrobat PDF Document)
An introductory tutorial from Scintag (the producers of our diffractometer) is a good basic introduction to Bragg diffraction and powder diffractometry, and some of the advanced capabilities of XRD as an analytical technique.
Laboratory Manual for X-Ray Powder Diffraction
U. S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01-041 is an introduction to X-ray diffraction primarily concerned with the analysis of clay minerals. Contains an intro to XRD and very extensive specimen preparation procedures for laboratory analysis.
Bragg's Law and Diffraction
This introduction to Braggs Law Diffraction features a Java applet which simulates coherent and incoherent scattering. The user specifies the incident wavelength (lamda), d-spacing (distance), and incident angle (theta) and the simulator shows the coherence (or lack of coherence) of the diffracted beam as a detector intensity.
Crystal Symmetry Groups (Adobe Acrobat PDF Document)
A very good short introduction to crystal symmetry by Robert B. Von Dreele of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
IUCR Teaching Pamphlets Home Page
The International Union of Crystallographers has put together an excellent set of online tutorials for Diffraction and Crystallography which run from very basic to very advanced, all available online for free.
X-ray Radiology Tutorial
This is comprehensive online tutorial about the field of X-ray radiology. While it contains nothing about x-ray diffraction, it includes excellent sections aboutthe generation of x-rays and their interaction with matter. The tutorial makes extensive use of very nifty Java aplets (usually requiring the additon of Sun Java 2 software to your system). Produced by the North Central Collaboration for Education in Nondestructive Testing, a joint project of four midwest colleges and Iowa State University.

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Radiation Safety Information and Tutorials

Radiation Safety Tutorial
This page is a subset of the X-ray Radiology Tutorial linked in the previous heading, and provides a very accessible and accurate discussion of just about all you need to know about radiation safety for X-ray users. The only thing to keep in mind is that it is generally slanted towards the higher energy X-rays used in radiology applications rather than the lower energy X-rays used in powder diffraction applications.
Radiation Safety for X-Ray Diffraction and Fluorescence Analysis Equipment
NBS Handbook 111 is an old but still valid resource summarizing the principles of radiation safety for X-ray diffraction and fluoresence laboratories.
Radiation Safety Guide for Users of Analytical X-Ray Systems
Well written, concise guide to radiation safety for analytical X-ray systems produced by the Indiana University radiation safety officer. (Recommended for all lab users)
Hazards in the Use of X-Ray Analytical Instrumentation (Acrobat PDF Document)
The classic 1973 paper by Jenkins and Haas is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the hazards associated with XRD and what to do to mitigate them in the lab. (Recommended for all lab users)
Univ. of Illinois Radiation Safety Office
This site used to have a very nice online tutorial available to anyone, but it is now only available to faculty, staff and students of UIC. There are still quite a few other resources available for the interested outsider on this recently updated site.

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Crystallography and XRD Links

Clay Minerals Society
The Society has recently redone its web page adding many resources (and removing some others like site links that may be missed). Includes membership and publication links as well as quite a bit of useful tutorial materials.
Teaching Clay Mineralogy
David Mogt's (Montana State University) compilation of links for teachers was done for the National Association of Geology Teachers (NAGT) and contains many great resources related to clay mineralogy (many but not all) related to X-ray diffraction as a tool for analysis of clays. The full collection of digital materials from NAGT workshops (with much XRD-related material) can be accessed here. Barb Dutrow and Christine Clark's Intro to Powder Diffraction is particularly good and comprehensive.
Crystallography Journals Online
Online versions of all journals published by the International Union for Crystallography. Journals of interest include Foundations of Crystallography, Structural Science, Crystal Structure Communications, and Applied Crystallography. Selected articles from current issues are available online for free, but most are available only by subscription or for individual purchase.
International Union of Crystallographers (IUCr)
Parts of this site are linked in other parts of this index page. This is the top level page with links to everything that is connected to IUCr. There are lots of links to rescources both within and external to the society.

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Links to Vendor Websites

Siemens Analytical XRD division was acquired in the 1990s by Bruker, and spun off as it's own division, Bruker-AXS. Web site does not contain a lot of useful links unless you are shopping for a new system and are considering what Bruker has to offer. It does include recent company news and contact telephone numbers for sales and service.
Compass Engineering
Anyone who has and has used a Scintag system will tell you how solid and reliable they are and how difficult it is to get them repaired on the rare occasions when they break. These guys are the Scintag rescue crew. Compass Engineering was formed by the former head of Thermo's service group in the U.S. and includes many engineers who worked for Scintag before it was acquired (absorbed?, consumed?, etc.) by Thermo. Karl Hoffmann and Don Watkins are two engineers who are very experienced in Scintag systems. An invaluable very professional resource for folks who like their Scintag systems and want to keep them functioning.
Gem Dugout
Owned and operated by the family of the late (and great) Deane Smith, Gem Dugout is known primarily as the best source of custom-crafted zero background quartz and silicon plates for use in diffractometers. The plates may be custom sized for any diffractometer's specimen holder and can include optional machined depressions on the surface for holding specimens. They are also one of the few sources for the Silver Behenate, the much sought after extremely-low-angle calibration standard material, and sodalite, a useful intermediate-angle calibration standard.
INEL manufacturers unique very large aperture (90-120 degrees) curved position-sensitive detectors and associated electronics enabling the creation of diffractometers with extremely rapid data collection capabilities and virtually no moving parts. They also make the Equinox line of diffractometer systems that incorporate these innovative detectors, or can work with clients to adapt their detectors to existing diffractometer systems.
PANalytical is the new company spun off from the X-ray division of technology giant Philips, they are one of the largest supplies of XRD and XRF systems in the world. This site has information about products, contacts, training courses available, and company news releases. Free registration (in return for allowing yourself to be pitched via Email) provides access to a large library of papers and articles about different aspects of X-ray analysis.
Rigaku primarily makes XRF and XRD systems. They have a variety of systems available for powder, thin film and single crystal XRD. Their inexpensive Miniflex desktop-sized system is a fast and reliable machine for quickly analyizing powders where very high-resolution data are not required, and their newest systems feature the ability to deliver a tightly focussed beam or a standard-geomety beam to a specimen with the flip of a lever. While most of the site is concerned with product information and company contacts, the Rigaku Journal (that unfortunately ceased publication in late 2006 but is still available online) contains many useful technical articles about XRD and XRF in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
McCrone Micronizing Mill
This device is considered by everyone who needs to have uniform powders in the 1 micron size range as the most important piece of sample prep equipment that they own. A new device has recently been installed in the X-ray diffraction lab, and the section above includes resources for this device as installed in the lab.
Materials Data, Incorporated
Materials Data (MDI) makes the software which we use for collecting and analyzing our diffractometer data, including Datascan, Jade and Shadow 4.0. The Datascan (that we use on our Scintag) and Databox software can be used to directly operate many diffractometers, which is particularly good for upgrades of older equipment which is not well supported by the original vendor. In the world of very expensive software, their costs are very reasonable (but not low by any means). The site contains very limited information about their products and contact information.
GBC Scientific
GBC Scientific (of Australia) both automates older diffractometers and manufactures economical compact desk-top new instruments. Old systems (including very old Philips and Norelco systems) can be made to produce new data for a fraction of the price of a new instrument. The software used with upgrades includes "Visual XRD" system control, and "Traces" for analysis of data. Both are 32-bit programs and access standard databases (including the PDF-4). GBC, who also manufactures other types of analytical equipment, acquired "Diffraction Technology" in 2001, and is continuing the development and marketing of their products.
International Center for Diffraction Data
ICDD is a non-profit corporation which produces the JCPDS Power Diffraction File (PDF) which is the standard database for X-ray Powder Diffraction Data for natural and synthetic materials. The PDF has recently been greatly expanded and upgraded to a fully relational database format making it possible to include a wealth of information not available in the older flat-file version of the database. Their site contains product information, information about training sessions, and links to information about the annual "Denver X-Ray Conference" that the ICDD puts on every year in early August. The "Resources" pages contain some very useful XRD-related links. Their vendor links page ( is a very comprehensive worldwide source list for X-ray Diffraction hardware, software and accessories.

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Updated (in part) August 30, 2013. Please send comments about (and suggested additions to) this page to

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