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. 3.5, p. 286

Section 3.5.5. Conclusion

A. Le Baila*

aUniversité du Maine, Institut des Molécules et Matériaux du Mans, UMR CNRS 6283, Avenue Olivier Messiaen, 72085 Le Mans Cedex 9, France
Correspondence e-mail:

3.5.5. Conclusion

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`Which is best: the Pawley or the Le Bail method?' is not a question with a simple conclusive answer. The fact is that both methods are able to estimate structure-factor amplitudes, which can lead to structure solution from powder-diffraction data in a more efficient way than was previously possible, even if the problem of peak overlap precludes attaining single-crystal quality data from only one powder pattern. The advantage of the Le Bail method over the Pawley method is its speed, which becomes apparent when several thousands of |Fhkl| values have to be extracted, for instance from high-resolution synchrotron data of a complex compound, since no more than about ten parameters have to be refined instead of thousands. Chemical knowledge may reduce the number of |Fhkl| values necessary for solving a structure to the first 100 Bragg peaks at low diffraction angles, as shown in the above example. Moreover, the small number of successful participants in the three SDPD round robins held in 1998, 2002 and 2008 (Le Bail et al., 2009[link]) did not allow us to conclude whether one approach is really better than the other, or even to be sure if all the further modifications of the extracted |Fhkl| values in particular computer programs are really decisive improvements (the conclusion was that SDPD `on demand' was still not an easy task). WPPD is not the only reef on the SDPD journey; indexing remains a considerable bottleneck for complex materials and low-resolution data.


Le Bail, A., Cranswick, L. M. D., Adil, K., Altomare, A., Avdeev, M., Cerny, R., Cuocci, C., Giacovazzo, C., Halasz, I., Lapidus, S. H., Louwen, J. N., Moliterni, A., Palatinus, L., Rizzi, R., Schilder, E. C., Stephens, P. W., Stone, K. H. & van Mechelen, J. (2009). Third structure determination by powder diffractometry round robin (SDPDRR-3). Powder Diffr. 24, 254–262.Google Scholar
Pawley, G. S. (1981). Unit-cell refinement from powder diffraction scans. J. Appl. Cryst. 14, 357–361.Google Scholar

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