The XRD Research Facility

One of the UK's leading laboratory-based diffraction facilities, the XRD facility is used by students and staff from across the department, faculty and University.


The XRD Research Facility is concerned with 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 the collection of XRD data from 80K up to 1850K, including a Bruker D2 Phaser for 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, a Panalytical Empyrean equipped with Cu, Ag, and Mo radiation, has applications in high pressure, PDF and in situ electrochemistry.


Phase Analysis
The most common application of XRD, Phase Analysis seeks to answer the fundamental question 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
Studies show 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 also allow the measurement of percentage crystallinity.

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 offer a bespoke specialist consultancy service that's 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.


Top in the Russell Group

We are the top-ranked Russell Group university for Graduate Prospects in Materials Science and Engineering. (The Times Good University Guide 2020)

Postgraduate online open day text and Diamond building

Postgraduate online open day

Book your place at our online open day on Wednesday 26 April to find out more about postgraduate taught study at the University of Sheffield.