Home Green Tech A Beginners Guide to X-Ray Diffraction

A Beginners Guide to X-Ray Diffraction


Whether you happen to be an aspiring scientist or you already work in the industry and are yet to utilize the many advantages of x-ray diffraction, it is an exciting subject to explore and one that you will likely encounter at some point in your career. 

For those of you wishing to enter into the biochemistry industry, you may find yourself relying on an x-ray diffractometer fairly heavily throughout your average working day. 


So What Does It Do? 

X-ray diffraction is an accurate and innocuous method of discerning a material’s atomical structure, allowing for users to correctly identify the composition of a substance. 

This results in the collection of reliable data regarding the material that can later be used to characterize samples. 

It essentially helps scientists ‘see’ the properties of the molecules they are investigating, which can enable to them to understand its purpose and functionality. 

What is It For? 

It’s for revealing previously hidden information regarding the crystallographic makeup of a substance, and in terms of real-world application, you need to look no further than the pharmaceutical industry.

A business that manufactures pharmaceuticals may use x-ray diffraction to obtain information regarding the purity of a sample, thus allowing them to make patent descriptions, alter their final product on the molecular level and test their drug. 

There are many other industries that employ this particular method of testing, however, including the construction, forensics, microelectronics, and even the glass industry. 

If you felt as though you needed some help from XRD (x-ray diffraction) to bolster your own manufacturing efforts, you may want to check out some of the great machines from malvernpanalytical.com

How Does it Work? 

By using x-rays to illuminate a material, you can use your XRD device to measure the interference effect (the diffraction part) that their wavelength has on the molecular structure of your sample, which, if done correctly, should cause scattering. 

The scattering pattern then reveals the atomical structure of the substance in question, based on the way it reacts to the x-rays.

In simple terms, the x-ray jiggles the sample’s structure around until it reveals its innermost molecular secrets!

Where is the XRD Headed in the Future? 

The discovery of XRD was first published by Max von Laue in 1912 Germany, and the applications for the technique have come an incredibly long way since then, and there are many exciting areas of science in which XRD can unveil answers to important questions. 

Where is it headed in the future, however? Perhaps it lies in the discovery of new life-saving drugs, a field of work spearheaded by the biochemical experts of the world. 

If this is an area of science that has your interest well and truly piqued, then perhaps it is worth considering an internship at a pharmaceutical company to get hold of some highly valuable experience. 

This particular field of science is fascinating, and to break into it, formal education is likely the best way to go.

If you already possess an undergraduate degree in a related field, however, pursuing a postgrad course in biochemistry might not be too much of a leap at all.