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. 2.9, p. 189

Section 2.9.1. Introduction

W. van Beeka* and P. Pattisona,b

aSwiss–Norwegian Beamlines at ESRF, CS 40220, 38043 Grenoble CEDEX 9, France, and bLaboratory for Quantum Magnetism, Institute of Physics, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Correspondence e-mail:

2.9.1. Introduction

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In a time-resolved powder-diffraction experiment performed in situ (sometimes also called non-ambient diffraction), the aim is to follow the behaviour of a sample as a function of one or more external stimuli. The use of this technique can be roughly divided into two fields: academic research and industrial applications. In academic research, the goal is generally to understand the structure–property relationship of the studied material and then to use this understanding in order to improve the design of materials, pharmaceutical products, synthesis routes, reaction conditions etc. In the industrial world, one typically wants to learn whether a particular phase, phase mixture or polymorph arrives at a certain time in a production process. Reaction cells that are well suited to industrial applications may well be inadequate for academic research and vice versa. Owing to the huge variety of applications, it is impossible to come up with a generic cell design. In this chapter, we show what information content is accessible for a given combination of X-ray or neutron source and in situ cell through various case studies. The enabling technology that has driven these recent developments will be outlined in the next section, followed by an overview of the different types of reaction cells in use at home laboratories and at synchrotron and neutron facilities. Finally, we indicate some areas in which new developments can be expected.

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