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 Sample size

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: Sample size

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Traditionally, a large amount of sample was needed for neutron powder diffraction because of the limited flux available at various neutron sources. However, significant advances have been made in source power and detector technology, making it possible to do standard diffraction experiments with relatively small quantities of samples, both at reactor and spallation sources. There are multiple factors that have to be taken into account to determine how much sample is required. These include source power, detector coverage of the instrument, source-to-sample distance, the scattering power of the sample, beam size, available time and information sought from the measurement. Neutron powder diffraction instruments often have to trade intensity for resolution, and so often a larger quantity of sample is needed for high-resolution instruments. Sample mass can vary from milligrammes to several grammes, so it is always advisable to contact the scientists responsible for the particular instrument to determine the quantity needed for the proposed measurements.

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