This white paper outlines the main benefits of using hard radiation for material analysis studies. X-ray powder diffractometers are generally equipped with X-ray sources using Cu anodes. For specific applications, however, switching to shorter wavelength, ‘harder’ radiation, like obtained from X-ray tubes with Mo or Ag anodes, gives significant improvements over Cu, or even allows experiments that are impossible with Cu radiation, like experiments where a large Q range needs to be probed.
Often, people make use of synchrotron radiation, but new developments on source, optics and detector technologies allow a variety of hard radiation experiments in the home lab. In this white paper we present six key advantages of hard radiation studies.
Larger penetration depth
For inorganic materials, the penetration depth of Cu K-alpha is often only a few micrometers (see Table 1). In order to extract information from a larger sample volume, hard radiation is an advantage in transmission experiments. Thanks to the larger penetration depth, it is possible to observe crystallographic changes in working devices, such as Li-ion batteries, and perform highpressure experiments with diamond anvil cells. Hard radiation allows using transmission geometry for inorganic samples.
Table 1. Example of penetration depth in µm for different materials and different X-ray wavelengths
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