New x-ray diffractometer expands research capabilities

Kaitlyn Landram

May 17, 2022

Empyrean XRD

In November, 2021, The Materials Characterization Facility (MCF) gained a new x–ray diffractometer, the Malvern Panalytical Empyrean XRD, that makes high temperature in situ work, enhanced micro diffraction, and much more available to researchers. 

While the facility already has two diffractometers (thin film and powder), the Empyrean XRD expands current capabilities and makes more equipment available to more researchers concurrently.

“High temperature in situ work and micro diffraction can be time-consuming, so with this instrument we can shift some of the load onto other pieces of equipment,” explained Betsy Clark, managing director of the MCF.

The Empyrean XRD can work up to 1600 degrees centigrade in air, vacuum and inert environments.  This can enable researchers to analyze the structural changes in materials, for example by looking at oxidation, and identifying phases as they form on the surface of their material samples. 

The instrument also enhances micro-diffraction because rather than masking off the beam and losing intensity, researchers start with an enhanced optic that gives a stronger signal. When it comes to 3D printing, this is important in understanding how the material structure changes as the build progresses.

“Something that’s really nice about this diffractometer is that it is modular,” said Clark, “It’s very easy to add new capabilities to it, so if a researcher needs to narrow down on something uniquely specific, they might not need to buy a whole new diffractometer but an add-on to this piece.”

It’s very easy to add new capabilities to it, so if a researcher needs to narrow down on something uniquely specific, they might not need to buy a whole new diffractometer but an add-on to this piece.

Betsy Clark, Managing Director, Materials Characterization Facility

In the coming months, MCF staff will be trained on more features of the Empyrean XRD including its hard radiation capabilities.

The Malvern Panalytical Empyrean XRD is the seventeenth piece of equipment in The Materials Characterization Facility.