Diffraction occurs when an X-ray beam interacts with a ordered material. The scattered X-rays undergo constructive and destructive interference as a result of their interaction with the material. The angular directions of possible diffraction peaks depend on the arrangement of the atoms within the unit cell. The intensities of the signals depend on the type and arrangement of atoms in the crystal structure. Each material gives different and characteristic diffraction patterns, essentially a molecular fingerprint.
The technique is therefore a very powerful tool to identify and characterise compunds based on their diffraction pattern. Diffraction can be employed to investigate ordered materials, for example crystals of both small molecules and large molecules like proteins, and powders.
It can also be used to monitor structural changes in materials undergoing a process such as gas absorption or laser heating. It can be used to measure strains in materials under load, by monitoring changes in the spacing of atomic planes.
Here at Diamond, we use a number of diffraction techniques to conduct research, which span across a range of industries.
Diamond Light Source is the UK's national synchrotron science facility, located at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire.
Copyright © 2022 Diamond Light Source
Diamond Light Source Ltd
Harwell Science & Innovation Campus
Diamond Light Source® and the Diamond logo are registered trademarks of Diamond Light Source Ltd
Registered in England and Wales at Diamond House, Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 0DE, United Kingdom. Company number: 4375679. VAT number: 287 461 957. Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number: GB287461957003.