Skip to main content

X-ray diffraction of an over-the-counter pain medication


Figure 1 shows a diffraction pattern of Painaway, an over-the-counter headache product containing caffeine, aspirin (acetylsalicyclic acid), and acetaminophen. This combination of compounds with caffeine makes the product much more effective. Using the MiniFlex benchtop XRD system, the individual components can easily be determined. The peak positions for caffeine are identified by the purple lines, aspirin positions are marked by the blue lines and the acetaminophen positions are marked by the red lines.


This medicine can either be measured by the MiniFlex as a ground powder or whole tablet (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Caffeine and pain medicine ready for measurement. Ground powder (left) and whole tablet (right)