XRD Analysis


XRD analysis, or X-ray diffraction analysis, is a technique used to study the crystallographic structure and properties of materials. XRD is based on the principle of Bragg's Law, which states that when a beam of X-rays strikes a crystal at a specific angle, the X-rays will scatter in a way that produces a distinct pattern of constructive interference. By measuring the angles and intensities of the diffracted X-ray beams, XRD can provide information about the atomic arrangement, crystalline phases, crystal size, lattice parameters, and other structural characteristics of crystalline materials.

XRD analysis typically involves using a specialized X-ray diffractometer, which consists of an X-ray source, a sample holder, and a detector. The X-ray source emits a monochromatic X-ray beam directed onto the sample at a specific angle. The detector then collects the diffracted X-rays from the sample, and the resulting diffraction pattern is analyzed to obtain structural information about the sample. XRD data are often compared with reference patterns from known materials to identify the phases present in the sample and determine its crystal structure.

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XRD chart showing analysis peak diffractogram


Materials Science

XRD analysis is extensively used in materials science to study crystallography, phase composition, and microstructure of various materials, including metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and thin films. It provides critical information about the atomic arrangement and crystal symmetry of materials, which can affect their mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties. XRD is used for material characterization, quality control, and developing new materials with tailored properties.

Geology and Mining

XRD analysis is employed in geology and mining for mineral identification, phase quantification, and mineralogical mapping. It helps identify the mineralogical composition of rocks, ores, and minerals, which is important for resource exploration, ore processing, and product quality control. XRD is also used in studying clay minerals, soil analysis, and environmental monitoring.


XRD analysis is utilized in the energy industry for studying materials used in energy production, storage, and conversion. It is used for characterizing catalysts, battery materials, fuel cells, solar cells, and other energy-related materials to understand their crystal structure, phase composition, and performance. This information helps in optimizing material properties for improved energy efficiency and sustainability.


XRD analysis is used in the pharmaceutical industry to determine the crystalline structure of drugs, excipients, and other pharmaceutical ingredients. It helps in understanding the physical properties of materials, such as polymorphism and crystal size, which can impact the efficacy and stability of drugs. XRD is also used for batch-to-batch consistency testing and identifying counterfeit drugs.


XRD analysis is utilized in nanotechnology for characterizing nanostructured materials, such as nanoparticles, nanocomposites, and thin films. It provides information about the size, shape, and crystal structure of nanomaterials, which is crucial for understanding their properties and performance. XRD is used in the research and development of nanomaterials for various applications, including electronics, sensors, coatings, and drug delivery systems.

Construction and Cement

XRD analysis is used in the construction industry for quality control of construction materials, such as cement, concrete, and ceramics. It helps determine the phase composition, crystal structure, and reactivity of cementitious materials, which is important for ensuring their performance and durability. XRD is also used in studying the degradation of construction materials due to environmental factors, such as moisture, temperature, and chemical exposure.


  • Metals
  • Minerals
  • Ceramics
  • Polymers
  • Thin Films


A primary use for XRD analysis is the identification of crystalline phases for a large variety of powders and thin-film samples. This includes the analysis of corrosion products, ceramics, clays, oxide or nitride coatings and many others.

Because the technique is structure based, XRD can differentiate between compounds with the same elements, yet different properties such as Fe2O3 and Fe3O4.

Often the approximate concentrations of each crystalline phase can be determined as well.

Confirmation of Material Properties, for example:

  • Analysis of production hydroxyapatite to verify Calcium:Phosphorus ratio as well as a comparison of the percent HA, Beta-tricalcium phosphate and Calcium oxide
  • Verification of lattice constants in palladium based catalyst materials
  • Determining percentage of material in crystalline form versus amorphous (% crystallinity)
  • Reverse engineering and competitive analysis
  • Determining crystallite size for polycrystalline films and materials


What is X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) Analysis?

X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis is a non-destructive analytical technique that involves shining X-rays onto a crystalline sample and measuring the diffraction pattern produced by the X-rays that are scattered by the crystal lattice. This diffraction pattern contains information about the crystal structure, phase composition, and other structural properties of the material being analyzed.

What information can be obtained from XRD analysis?

XRD analysis provides valuable information about the crystal structure, phase composition, crystal symmetry, lattice parameters, crystal size, and orientation of crystalline materials. It can also determine properties such as crystallographic texture, residual stress, and degree of crystallinity in materials.

What types of materials can be analyzed using XRD?

XRD analysis can analyze a wide range of crystalline materials, including metals, ceramics, minerals, polymers, composites, thin films, and nanomaterials. It is particularly well-suited for studying crystalline materials with long-range order, such as crystalline powders, single crystals, and thin films.

What are the applications of XRD analysis?

XRD analysis has numerous applications in various fields, including materials science, pharmaceuticals, geology and mining, energy, nanotechnology, and construction. It is used for material characterization, quality control, process optimization, phase identification, phase quantification, and structure determination, among other applications.

What are the advantages of XRD analysis?

XRD analysis offers several advantages, including non-destructive nature (samples can be recovered after analysis), high sensitivity, the ability to provide detailed structural information, a wide range of materials that can be analyzed, and quantitative analysis capability. It is a versatile and powerful technique for studying the crystallography of materials.

Can XRD analysis be used for amorphous materials?

XRD analysis is primarily used for crystalline materials with long-range order. However, it can also provide information about amorphous materials, such as short-range order, atomic packing, and degree of amorphousness. Other complementary techniques, such as X-ray scattering, may be used for a more detailed analysis of amorphous materials.


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