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Aeris – Your partner for routine and semi-advanced XRD – Q&A

25 October 2018 No Comment

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Aeris is the tabletop diffractometer, launched by Malvern Panalytical at the end of 2016. Despite its young age, Aeris has already established its own place in many laboratories and industrial sites worldwide. There are many reasons “why” our users select Aeris for powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) tasks. Some are amazed by the data quality and speed, approaching that of full power floor-standing XRD. Some like the concept of external sample loading preventing possible mistakes by an inexperienced user. Some benefit from the intuitive user interface, virtually eliminating a need for instrument training. Those are few of the many features making Aeris a preferred choice for routine and semi-advanced XRD applications, starting from fast and accurate process control to in situ experiments, 2D XRD and even structure solution from powder data1.

Recently we gave a live Aeris demo at your desk webinar, which attracted a lot of attention. Thanks to all who were able to join us live! Those who could not make it for the live session – do not worry, you can watch the recording on our website. Many questions were asked during and after the webinar. We would like to follow-up on them here. If you have any further questions that aren’t answered, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

Q: Comparing to the floor models how much longer do we need to measure a sample to achieve a similar result?­

Aeris data quality is almost as good as data quality achievable on floor-standing full-power models for both, resolution and intensity. To give an example, to match the intensity of a 5 minute measurement of a typical crystalline sample on a floor-standing XRD, 7-8 minutes measurement on Aeris is sufficient.

Q: Is it possible to get example Aeris data sent by email to see the data quality?

Yes, it is possible. We accumulated a large collection of various application examples (including cement process control, mine exploration and sorting, beneficiation process control, steel grading, etc.) as well as scans from NIST standard materials which we can share with you, just drop an email.

Q: Can Aeris be used for quantitative measurements?

Absolutely! Thanks to the accuracy and precision of Aeris goniometer and resolution, achieved by combination of Empyrean-type X-ray tube with advanced solid-state PIXcel1D detector, Aeris provides XRD patterns with an accurate peak position and peak resolution, suitable for quantitative analyses. This can be anything from simple phase quantification or average crystallite size determination to full-pattern Rietveld refinement, indexing and even structure solution [1].

Q: How does the Aeris know how to quantify?

Automatic routine phase quantification can be set up on Aeris. The quantification results will be displayed on the Aeris touchscreen and will be saved either on Aeris directly or on a network location. In order to enable this feature, automatic analyses programs are needed. Those programs can be prepared by Malvern Panalytical experts or by you if you are familiar with the Rietveld method and know how to use HighScore Plus. Once prepared, automatic analyses programs can be loaded and used on Aeris, this does not require any additional software to be installed on Aeris.

Q: Is there any option to get the results printed automatically?

It is not yet possible to print directly from Aeris touch screen. However, it is possible to save measured data and quantitative results on a network location, and from there printing can be set up.

Q: How good is Aeris with nanomaterials?

When it comes to nanomaterials one will be able to get information about phase composition and average crystallite size by measuring nano-crystalline powders or thick gels using standard reflection geometry of Aeris.

Q: Is it possible to measure thick film sample?­

­Yes, we have users running polycrystalline thin film samples on FTO glass substrate with Aeris using reflection geometry and standard symmetrical scans.

Q: I am used to small samples held on a fiber for traces of corrosion. Is there a similar holder and point beam configuration available?­

All circular sample holders supported on our floor-standing models (Empyrean, X’Pert3 Powder and CubiX3) in combination with spinner stage can be used with Aeris as well. We have sample holders for large sample amounts and for very small sample amounts. For measurement of fiber samples in reflection geometry or for very small sample amounts, we advise circular sample holder with a zero background insert.

Q: Can Aeris measure samples captured on filters?­

Yes, air filters capturing crystalline phases (e.g. silica) can be measured on Aeris.

Q: Can I exchange a sample in the sample changer while the Aeris is measuring?

Aeris has the external sample changer accessible during operation. This allows you to remove measured samples and introduce more samples to be measured.  The samples that are already measured are color coded on the Aeris display.  This allows continuous loading for seamless operation and gives a walk-up style of operation for your lab.

Q: How many hours of work could X-ray tube reach on Aeris benchtop?­

Thanks to the smart choice of tube voltage on Aeris (40 kV instead of 30 kV) the natural decay of tube intensity is very slow. For at least 10 years of operation of Aeris, we do not foresee the necessity to change an X-ray tube.

Q: What is the expected cost of ownership compared to a stand-alone XRD including the need for maintenance, consumables and spare parts?

Aeris can be run at 300 W and 600 W, both come with internal cooling and do not require any infrastructure apart from a single phase power outlet. Smart voltage setting on Aeris (40 kV instead of 30 kV) prolongs the tube life. Build-in-design ease-of-use eliminates the necessity of instrument training/re-training for users. All these combined comes to the 3-3.5 times lower cost of ownership compared to a floor-standing full-power XRD unit over a 10 year period.

Q: What is the difference between 300 W and 600 W?

Aeris can be run at 300 W and 600 W. The benefit of 600 W version is a two times faster measurement for the same data quality. For a reference, a typical measurement time for cement type of sample is 5 min on Aeris 600 W and 10 min on Aeris 300 W.

Q: Do you offer a GMP compliant software for the Aeris benchtop?­

We are working on the solution. Please stay tuned for the announcements.

Are you considering adding a benchtop XRD to your lab?  Download this whitepaper for guidance in your decision-making process.

Reference:

  1. Nénert, G. (2017). Synthesis and crystal structure of the new vanadate AgCaVO4: Comparison with the arcanite structure. Zeitschrift Für Kristallographie – Crystalline Materials, 232(10). DOI: 10.1515/zkri-2017-2041