In situ XRD of a NiTi shape memory alloy showing a phase change from martentsitic to austenitic.

The term X-ray Scattering encompasses a number of techniques. X-ray diffraction (XRD), Small (SAXS) and Wide (WAXS) angle X-ray scattering, and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) are three types of X-ray scattering measurements that MCL offers to characterize materials. The term XRD has traditionally been applied to well-ordered crystalline materials for determination of crystal structures, identification of phase composition, stress measurements, and preferred orientation and crystallinity determination, whereas the terms SAXS and WAXS have been applied to the characterization of non- or semi-crystalline materials. SAXS experiments can study electron density structures in materials on size scales greater than the electron density contrast due to atomic ordering observed in diffraction from crystalline materials and can provide information on size, shape, and distribution of electron density contrasted domains. Diffuse scattering to wide angles (WAXS) can study atomic structure in non-crystalline materials. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is commonly used to identify the elemental composition of materials.

A variety of samples can be measured including bulk specimens, powders, thin films, liquids, gels, emulsions and more. In situ capabilities include the ability to work with wet or air sensitive specimens, at temperatures from -196 to 1600 C, in air, vacuum, or a variety of gases and at pressures up to 100 bar. These capabilities are summarized in the table below.

XRD Instrument (Radiation sources)" Non-ambient stage Temp. range Environment Sample size limitations Angle limitations
Anton Paar HPC900 25 to 900 °C
He, from 1 to 100 bar
Alumina or Inconel cups: 10 mm diameter, 0.8 mm depth 0 to 160 ° 2θ
25 to 500 °C Air, Nitrogen, CO2, from 1 to 100 bar

(Cu, Co, Mo, Ag)
Anton Paar HTK1200N
25 to 1200 °C
Vacuum (10^-4 mbar), air, inert gases
max. 16 mm diameter
0 to 164 ° 2θ
Anton Paar HTK2000N 25 to 1600 °C Vacuum (10^-4 mbar), air, inert gases ~1cm^2 powder 4 to 164 ° 2θ

MRD (Cu, Cr) Anton Paar DHS900 25 to 900 °C Vacuum (10^-1 mbar), air, inert gases, nitrogen max. 25 mm diameter 0 to 166 ° 2θ

0 to 85 °ψ (psi)

0 to 360 ° φ (phi)

Xuess SAXS/WAXS (Cu) Linkam HFSX350

Linkam CSS450

Linkam MFS with Xenocs Humidity Control


-196 to 350 °C

-50 to 450 °C

-196 to 350 °C




compression and tensile force; relative humidity (in air only) from 10-90% for temperatures 25-60 °C

Capillaries up to 1.7 mm diam. / bulk ~5 mm

30 mm

varies widely with setup


0.0040 - 2.88 A-1

0.0040 - 2.88 A-1

0.0040 - 2.88 A-1


User Policies, Procedures, & Training

All users of analytical x-ray systems at Penn State are required to complete x-ray safety training through Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) prior to receiving instrument training. For more information on these requirements, see the EHS web site. Equipment training is provided at the hourly rate for equipment and analyst. Group training is available and can reduce cost per student significantly. Visit this webpage for training details or contact a technical staff member for more information.

→ → Become an Independent User on MCL's X-ray Diffraction Equipment

A Short Introduction to X-Ray Diffraction



Instrument Source Goniometer Optics Focus Mode Detector Applications
Malvern Panalytical Empyrean III Cu theta-theta multi-core line or microbeam reflection or transmission PIXcel 3D PXRD/bulk/thin film/stress/45 position sample changer

Malvern Panalytical Empyrean II Cu, Mo, Co, Ag 3-axis cradle


line/point reflection or
GaliPIX and
powder/bulk/metals/polymers HTK1200N and HTK200N stages

Malvern Panalytical Empryean I Cu, Mo theta-theta para-focusing line reflection PIXcel 3D powder/bulk; Anton Paar HPC900 high pressure/temperature stage

Malvern Panalytical XPert Pro MPD Cu theta-theta

parallel beam

line reflection PIXcel 1D powder/bulk/thin film; Anton Paar HTK16 Pt strip heater; 15 position sample changer

Malvern Panalytical X'Pert3 MRD Cu, Cr 4-circle

high resolution,
focusing lens

line/point reflection

PIXcel 3D and

bulk/thin film; Anton Paar DHS900 domed heating stage

XENOCS Xeuss 2.0 SAXS/WAXS Cu none collimation

scatterless slits -

point focus

transmission and GIXRD Dectris Pilatus 200K polymers, nanoparticles, nanocomposites, etc.; Linkam HFSX350 and CSS450 stages

Multiwire Laue white 3-axis; Bond Barrel collimation point back-reflection multiwire area single crystal