Tables for
Volume H
Powder diffraction
Edited by C. J. Gilmore, J. A. Kaduk and H. Schenk
International Tables for Crystallography (2018). Vol. H, ch. 2.10, p. 218

Section Specimen form

P. S. Whitfield,a* A. Huqb and J. A. Kadukc,d,e

aEnergy, Mining and Environment Portfolio, National Research Council Canada, 1200 Montreal Road, Ottawa ON K1A 0R6, Canada,bChemical and Engineering Materials Division, Spallation Neutron Source, P.O. Box 2008, MS 6475, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA,cDepartment of Chemistry, Illinois Institute of Technology, 3101 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60616, USA,dDepartment of Physics, North Central College, 131 South Loomis Street, Naperville, IL 60540, USA, and ePoly Crystallography Inc., 423 East Chicago Avenue, Naperville, IL 60540, USA
Correspondence e-mail: Specimen form

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Large penetration depth and sensitivity to lighter elements (especially mobile species such as hydrogen, lithium and oxygen) in the presence of heavier elements make neutron diffraction a powerful and complementary technique to X-ray diffraction for structural studies. Because neutrons are highly penetrating and large sample volumes can be used, sometimes no specimen preparation is needed at all; sintered ceramic pellets, fish otoliths and renal calculi can be placed directly in the beam. However, the most traditional sample holder for standard neutron powder diffraction (Debye–Scherrer geometry) is cylindrical and is usually made of vanadium. If the diffraction instrument has reflection geometry, however, one has to use flat plates. Diffractometers built for the study of engineering materials can accommodate various shapes and forms because they can isolate small volumes within the sample.

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