General description of operation
The X-Ray Diffractometer works by using high voltage to generate x-rays in the x-ray tube on the left side of the instrument and collimating them into a parallel beam to impinge on the sample in the center of the instrument. The diffracted x-rays, that is, the ones that are strongly reflected at particular angles off the crystalline powdered sample, are received and counted by a detector mounted on the right side of the unit. A camera/laser system for vertical adjustment and horizontal positioning of our sample in the center of the x-ray beam to insure the correct geometric positioning of critical components. Data, comprised of angular positions and diffracted x-ray intensities, are collected and displayed on a computer screen as an x-ray diffraction pattern. Data processing procedures, including background subtraction and smoothing, can be followed by a search/match process to compare the diffraction pattern to a large database of known patterns to identify unknown samples. Other uses for the measured data include estimation of particle size, degree of crystallinity, and precise calculation of the positions of atoms within the crystals.