Phase identification using X-ray diffraction (XRD) works much like fingerprint analysis. XRD patterns are collected on unknown samples and compared to patterns obtained from known materials. The primary database for these XRD patterns is compiled and maintained by the International Center for Diffraction Data (ICDD). In some industrial cases the preferred XRD patterns for optimal analysis of a specific process may not be present in the ICDD database. In these cases the MiniFlex analysis software allows users to make their own databases based on user collected patterns from common or important materials in the process.
Consider the production of a complex organic mixture such as pancake mix. In this case primary ingredients such as brown sugar, baking powder, and flour, rather than the molecular compounds that make up the ingredients are what's important to control in the production process.