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.


Figure 1: The ingredients of food components can be difficult to identify. But the MiniFlex can remove some of the complication by scanning the raw ingredients and identifying them first.

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. The primary ingredients however may not all be present in the database. By collecting XRD patterns of the individual ingredients (figure 2) and adding them to the user database of the software, phase identification and quality control of the pancake mix (figure 3) can be done.


Figure 2: The individual raw ingredients were scanned and overlaid.  Each of individual raw materials were scanned and the patterns were saved to a database.


Figure 3: Overlay of newly added patterns to the database with the original XRD pancake mix pattern.  This mixture contains flour, baking soda, baking powder, white sugar, brown sugar. This confirms the identity of the individual compounds.

New sixth generation MiniFlex X-ray diffractometer (XRD) is a multipurpose analytical instrument that can determine: phase identification and quantification, percent (%) crystallinity, crystallite size and strain, lattice parameter refinement, Rietveld refinement, and molecular structure. It is widely used in research, especially in material science and chemistry, as well as in industry for research and quality control. It is the newest addition to MiniFlex series of benchtop X-ray diffraction analyzers from Rigaku, which began with the introduction of the original MiniFlex system decades ago. Read more...

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