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Diffractometer

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Diffractometer

Bruker X8 Apex diffractometer at the University of Arizona Department of Geosciences

A diffractometer (pronunciation: di-"frak-'tä-m&-t&r) is a measuring instrument for analyzing the structure of a material from the scattering pattern produced when a beam of radiation or particles (such as X-rays or neutrons) interacts with it.

Principle

The detector end of a simple x-ray diffractometer with an area detector. The direction of the X-rays is indicated with the red arrow.

Because it is relatively easy to use electrons or neutrons having wavelengths smaller than a nanometer, electrons and neutrons may be used to study crystal structure in a manner very similar to X-ray diffraction. Electrons do not penetrate as deeply into matter as X-rays, hence electron diffraction reveals structure near the surface; neutrons do penetrate easily and have an advantage that they possess an intrinsic magnetic moment that causes them to interact differently with atoms having different alignments of their magnetic moments.

A typical diffractometer consists of a source of radiation, a monochromator to choose the wavelength, slits to adjust the shape of the beam, a sample and a detector. In a more complicated apparatus, a goniometer can also be used for fine adjustment of the sample and the detector positions. When an area detector is used to monitor the diffracted radiation, a beamstop is usually needed to stop the intense primary

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