X-ray Facility

 X-Ray Diffraction

X-ray diffraction is a core characterisation technique for the study of materials science. It is a robust and versatile technique that can be used to measure a wide range of information such as percentage crystallinity, crystal lattice parameter, phase identification and residual stress. Our X-ray diffraction laboratory houses two different diffractometers with complementary capabilities, enabling us to study a range of materials in the one laboratory. We have a number of dedicated academic staff with specific expertise in using diffraction to study materials science and we also provide technical assistance for students and beginners.

Panalytical X'pert MRD XL

Measurement types

  • Phase identification (standard 2-theta scanning)
  • Texture
  • Residual stress measurement
  • Thin film analysis

Instrument specifications

  • Two X-ray optics: point focus and line focus
  • Silicon monochromator
  • Cu Kα radiation
  • Can measure rough specimens and tilted specimens

In-situ capabilities

The MRD can be used to examine lattice strain of light metals under tension using the in-situ deformation rig. This is carried out in transmission mode, rather than the ‘reflection’ which is typically used for standard 2-theta scanning. Development and commissioning of this equipment was the PhD project of one of our staff members, Dr Sitarama Raju and he remains on our staff as a postdoctoral researcher specialising in this technique.

Panalytical X'pert Powder

Instrument specifications

  • Dedicated phase identification instrument
  • Line focus
  • Ni filter
  • Range of divergence slits available to suit the sample and experiment
  • Cu Kα radiation
  • Ultra-fast 1D detector for rapid acquisition of data

In-situ capabilities

The Powder diffractometer has an in-situ heating stage that can be heated to 1000°C during an XRD experiment. Combined with the upgraded detector, full XRD spectra can be obtained while the sample is being heated, cooled, or held at temperature. This is an ideal experimental apparatus for studying high temperature material behaviours.

In-situ deformation stage for X-ray diffraction

The DEBEN MICROTEST stage has capabilities to perform tensile, compression and bending deformation studies in-situ X-ray diffraction in reflection. The original configuration has been modified specifically to conduct a transmission X-ray diffraction experiment in-situ tensile deformation. The modified in-situ stage combined with transmission X-ray diffraction provides a unique opportunity to study the lattice stress evolution during slip/ twinning deformation mechanisms in a laboratory scale.


  • Maximum load: 5 kN
  • Test speed: 0.3 - 300 mm/s
  • Test control: constant strain and constant load
  • Loading types: tension, compression and bending
  • Diffraction geometry: reflection and transmission X-ray diffraction