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. 3.4, p. 276

Section DICVOL91 (Boultif & Louër, 1991[link])

A. Altomare,a* C. Cuocci,a A. Moliternia and R. Rizzia

aInstitute of Crystallography – CNR, Via Amendola 122/o, Bari, I-70126, Italy
Correspondence e-mail: DICVOL91 (Boultif & Louër, 1991[link])

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This program works in direct space (down to the monoclinic system) by using the successive-dichotomy search method (see Section[link]), which was introduced for the automatic indexing of powder diffraction patterns by Louër & Louër (1972[link]). DICVOL91 has been defined as exhaustive by Shirley (1980[link], 2003[link]). Its main steps are:

  • (1) The unit-cell volume is partitioned by moving from high to low symmetry. Shells of 400 Å3 of volume are scanned for all the symmetry systems except for triclinic; for the triclinic system the shells are based on the definition of volume proposed by Smith (1977[link]) (see Section[link]).

  • (2) A search using the successive-dichotomy method, based on suitable intervals (see Section[link]), is carried out. In the case of the triclinic system the general expression for [Q(hkl)] as function of the direct cell parameters is too complicated, and the reciprocal-space parameters in equation (3.4.2[link]) are used for setting the intervals.

  • (3) The derived cell parameters are refined using the least-squares method.

  • (4) The quality of each trial unit cell is evaluated by using the MN and FN figures of merit (see Section[link]).

The program is fast at performing exhaustive searches in parameter space (except for the triclinic case); on the other hand, its efficiency is strongly related to the quality of the data and to the presence of impurities (in fact, impurities are not permitted).


Boultif, A. & Louër, D. (1991). Indexing of powder diffraction patterns for low-symmetry lattices by the successive dichotomy method. J. Appl. Cryst. 24, 987–993.Google Scholar
Louër, D. & Louër, M. (1972). Méthode d'essais et erreurs pour l'indexation automatique des diagrammes de poudre. J. Appl. Cryst. 5, 271–275.Google Scholar
Shirley, R. (1980). Data accuracy for powder indexing. In Accuracy in Powder Diffraction, edited by S. Block & C. R. Hubbard, NBS Spec. Publ. 567, 361–382.Google Scholar
Shirley, R. (2003). Overview of powder-indexing program algorithms (history and strengths and weaknesses). IUCr Comput. Comm. Newsl. 2, 48–54. .Google Scholar
Smith, G. S. (1977). Estimating the unit-cell volume from one line in a powder diffraction pattern: the triclinic case. J. Appl. Cryst. 10, 252–255.Google Scholar

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