There are basically two reasons which make X-ray diffraction (XRD) an indispensable form of analysis. One is that it is possible to obtain the sub-microscopic structure of any sort of material through this method and the second is the ease with which the information can be accurately obtained. The fine structure studies made possible by XRD, has become a valuable form of analysis. It is being increasingly used in a number of applications including pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, cosmetics, metallurgy, nanotechnology, geology, etc.
X-ray diffraction analysis is a powerful scientific method that can be used to maintain the quality of products throughout the manufacturing process. XRD analysis helps determine the undisputed characterisation of each chemical compound. Since it is possible to carry out analysis of a mixture, solid or a complex compound formation, XRD analysis is particularly useful in the formulation of pharmaceutical drugs. XRD testing is also used to determine the crystallinity ornon-crystallinity of a material, either in the solid state or in solution, as also the crystal size in microscopic as well as sub-microscopic ranges.
Other reasons why XRD has become an indispensable analysis method is because it is a rapid technique that is at the same time accurate. It provides unambiguous results from even a very small sample. It is also easy to interpret data in a short time because each chemical compound has a unique and different diffraction pattern. A mixture of compounds provides patterns of individual compounds and that is easy to compare to a database of patterns. There are a number of laboratories that have X-ray diffraction instrumentation but scientists need to be experienced to be able to accurately analyse the diffraction peaks.
One other area that is extremely helpful in pharmaceutical formulations is that XRD analysis helps to discover unexpected chemical reactions. It also enables detection of impurities and effect of these on compounds. XRD testing is also carried out to identify synthetic or natural substances or to ensure that the right materials are used in formulations. This is particularly useful in the cosmetic industry as through XRD you can estimate the extent of purity in soaps, lotions, shampoos, etc.
XRD analysis is useful at it brings understanding of the influence of different temperatures and atmosphere has on materials. These aspects help in quality control in food, pharmaceutical and other industries. An XRD lab analyses samples in a controlled environment so that materials do not have unwanted chemical reactions during the processes and this is particularly important in metallurgy.
X-Ray diffraction instrumentation accommodates the analysis of a number of XRD applications that determine structure, stress and texture measurement as well as phase analysis.Since X-Ray diffraction analysis is non-destructive it has become indispensable in analysing a huge range of materials like metals, ceramics, plastics, minerals, solar cells, conductors, etc. Any industry using these materials will find that XRD analysis is indispensable in quality control of processes as well as materials.