The XRD Research Facility

Ph.D. students Ritesh Rawal and Sharon de Souza get to grips with the new STOE STADI P.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering XRD Research Facility is one of the UK's leading laboratory-based diffraction facilities. It houses state-of-the-art equipment essential to the characterisation of a wide array of solid state materials including electroceramics, cements, refractories, metals and glasses.

Our suite of ten X-ray diffractometers allows collection of XRD data from 80K up to 1850K. We have also just commissioned a brand-new Bruker D2 Phaser to allow for even more rapid collection of high resolution data.

The facility also houses a Panalytical Zetium X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, a Renishaw inVia Raman microscope, and an EasyXES-100 lab XANES/EXAFS setup. Our newest acquisition is a Panalytical Empyrean equipped with Cu, Ag, and Mo radiation, and has applications in high pressure, PDF and in situ electrochemistry.

The facility is used by students and staff from across the Department, Faculty and University.


Phase Analysis
Phase analysis is the most common application of XRD, and seeks to answer that most of fundamental of questions we can ask of a material: 'what is it?' We compare diffraction patterns against the 2014 edition of the ICDD's Powder Diffraction File, a reference database of more than 340,000 reported crystalline phases to find the answer.

Retained Austenite Calculation
We offer a long-established service to the steel industry for the measurement of retained austenite contents in ferrous steels using methods based on ASTM Standard Practice E975-84.

Quantitative Phase Analysis using the Rietveld Method
Successive round robin studies have shown that the most accurate way of conducting quantitative phase analysis is by applying the Rietveld method to powder diffraction data. More than a full pattern fitting method, we solve the crystal structure of each constituent phase to give you the most accurate quantification possible; spiking with known standards can allow the measurement of percentage crystallinity also.

Advanced Methodology

We also offer crystallite size determination by XRD, residual strain analysis, lattice parameter determination, solid solution studies, glancing-angle XRD and crystal structure solution using the Rietveld method.

We can create and provide bespoke training packages for XRD data collection and analysis methods, and offer regular one-day workshops on Rietveld analysis.

Working with industry

We also offer a bespoke specialist consultancy service that is scientifically rigorous but adaptable to meet the specific demands of a particular customer or sample. To discuss possible contract work or request a quote for work, just get in touch! We try to complete all contract works within 2 weeks of receipt of samples, wherever possible.


Dr. Nik Reeves-McLaren
XRD Research Facility Manager