As communicated last year, as of 1 January 2017 Malvern Instruments and PANalytical have merged their activities. Both companies are owned by parent company Spectris plc and are world leading suppliers of analytical instrumentation, PANalytical for X-ray instrumentation and software for the purpose of materials analysis, and Malvern Instruments for materials and biophysical characterization technology.

PANalytical’s main technologies are X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) which provide elemental and structural information on a range of materials across different industry segments and application areas. One such application is solving and understanding crystal structure in crystalline materials which is a key component in the characterization of a new compound and a first step towards tailoring its properties.  Thanks to a number of matured algorithms and powerful software packages, nowadays, structure solution from single-crystal X-ray diffraction data has become a push-button operation in many cases. However, most of the crystalline materials are not available as single crystals, and, hence, the only route to extract the information about their structural properties is by using powder X-ray diffraction.

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The understanding of a crystal structure is a key component in the characterization of a new compound and a first step towards tailoring of its properties. Traditionally crystal structures are solved using single-crystal X-ray diffraction. Thanks to a number of matured algorithms and powerful software packages, nowadays, structure solution from single-crystal X-ray diffraction data has become a push-button operation in many cases. However, most of the crystalline materials are not available as single crystals, and, hence, the only route to extract the information about their structural properties is by using powder X-ray diffraction.

The first structure solved from powder diffraction data was LiSbWO6 [Le Bail et al., 1988]. Since then, structure solution from powder data has developed into an established technique suitable for any crystalline material.

The first step to a successful structure solution from powder data is the availability of high-quality X-ray diffraction data. Most of the modern floor-standing diffractometers can deliver data of sufficient quality. Not every bench top diffractometer, however, can stand the challenge. Recently Gwilherm Nénert, XRD application specialist at Malvern PANalytical, solved the crystal structure of AgCaVO4 from powder X-ray data obtained on the Aeris Research bench top diffractometer (Synthesis and crystal structure of the new vanadate AgCaVO4: Comparison with the arcanite structure, G. Nénert, 2017). Visit this webpage to download the data sheet, summarizing this case study, to learn more about structure solution from X-ray powder diffraction.

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