In many production or R&D settings, x-rays can be used to characterize materials and samples. The x-ray wavelength range (from 0.01 to 10nm) make them exceptionally suitable to analyze structures and elements at the atomic level. There are a few main techniques how X-rays can be used to help characterize your sample:
X-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray scattering can be used, for example, to analyze a samples’ crystal structure (X-ray crystallography) or to identify and quantify crystalline phases in a sample (X-ray powder diffraction / XRPD). XRD equipment can also be extended with tools and accessories to visualize the internal structure an object, or use x-ray scattering to determine nanoparticle size distributions.
X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is a widely used non-destructive and fast technique to determine the elemental composition of a material requiring only minimal sample preparation. XRF analyzers can be used for various applications, ranging from screening of incoming goods for toxic elements to precise analysis in high-throughput, production-critical environments. Malvern Panalytical has a range of XRF analyzers to meet your challenges
XRD vs XRF - Which is best for me?
XRD and XRF are complementary techniques with several similarities as both use an X-ray source and an X-ray detector, but the information provided by the two techniques is very different.
XRD provides information about the crystalline phases present in a sample, and can distinguish between compounds - for example different oxidation states (Fe2O3/Fe3O4) or between different polymorphs (hematite vs maghemite, both being ferric oxide Fe2O3).
XRF provides information about the chemical (elemental) composition of a sample, i.e. which element (Fe, O) are present and in which quantities. One of the main benefits of XRF is that it can detect the amount of a chemical element down to 100 ppb (part per billion). XRF sample preparation is also fast, easy and safe compared to alternative techniques.
Malvern Panalytical's X-ray analysis solutions
Malvern Panalytical is a world-leading provider of X-ray analytical equipment with decades of experience. We offer a wide range of solutions ranging from easy-to-use benchtop systems to full-power, comprehensive floorstanding systems for both XRF and XRD. These techniques are complimentary and in many production control environments both types of equipment are used to ensure optimal quality assurance.