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Part of & A Learners Guide
Diffraction: Braggs Law Anandh Subramaniam & Kantesh Balani

Crystal Structure Determination

Materials Science and Engineering (MSE)
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur- 208016
Email:, URL:

Elements of X-Ray Diffraction

B.D. Cullity & S.R. Stock
Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River (2001)
Recommended websites:
Caution Note: In any chapter, amongst the first few pages (say 5 pages) there will be some big picture
overview information. This may lead to overloading and readers who find this uncomfortable may skip
particular slides in the first reading and come back to them later.
What will you learn in this sub-chapter?
How to produce monochromatic X-rays?
How does a crystal scatter these X-rays to give a diffraction pattern?
Braggs equation
What determines the position of the XRD peaks? Answer) the lattice.
What determines the intensity of the XRD peaks? Answer) the motif.
How to analyze a powder pattern to get information about the lattice type?
(Cubic crystal types).

What other uses can XRD be put to apart from crystal structure determination?
Grain size determination Strain in the material

Other relevant topics Laue_picture.ppt

Some Basics
For electromagnetic radiation to be diffracted* the spacing in the grating (~a series
of obstacles or a series of scatterers) should be of the same order as the
In crystals the typical interatomic spacing ~ 2-3 ** so the suitable radiation
for the diffraction study of crystals is X-rays.
Hence, X-rays are used for the investigation of crystal structures.
Neutrons and Electrons are also used for diffraction studies from materials.
Neutron diffraction is especially useful for studying the magnetic ordering in

** If the wavelength is of the order of the lattice spacing, then diffraction effects will be prominent.
Click here to know more about this
** Lattice parameter of Cu (aCu) = 3.61
dhkl is equal to aCu or less than that (e.g. d111 = aCu/3 = 2.08 )
Generation of X-rays
X-rays can be generated by decelerating electrons.
Hence, X-rays are generated by bombarding a target (say Cu) with an electron beam.
The resultant spectrum of X-rays generated (i.e. X-rays versus Intensity plot) is shown in
the next slide. The pattern shows intense peaks on a broad background.
The intense peaks can be thought of as monochromatic radiation and be used for X-ray
diffraction studies.

Beam of electrons X-rays


An accelerating (or decelerating) charge radiates electromagnetic radiation

Mo Target impacted by electrons accelerated by a 35 kV potential shows the emission
spectrum as in the figure below (schematic)

Intense peak, nearly X-ray sources with different for

K monochromatic doing XRD studies

Target Of K
White K Metal radiation ()

radiation Mo 0.71
Characteristic radiation Cu 1.54
due to energy transitions
Co 1.79
in the atom
Fe 1.94
Cr 2.29

0.2 0.6 1.0 1.4

Wavelength ()

The high intensity nearly monochromatic K x-rays can be used as a radiation source for
X-ray diffraction (XRD) studies a monochromator can be used to further decrease the
spread of wavelengths in the X-ray
X-ray sources with different for doing XRD studies

Elements (KV) Of K1 Of K2 Of K K-Filter

radiation radiation () radiation () (mm)

Ag 25.52 0.55941 0.5638 0.49707 Pd

Mo 20 0.7093 0.71359 0.63229 Zr
Cu 8.98 1.540598 1.54439 1.39222 Ni
Ni 8.33 1.65791 1.66175 1.50014 Co
Co 7.71 1.78897 1.79285 1.62079 Fe
Fe 7.11 1.93604 1.93998 1.75661 Mn
Cr 5.99 2.2897 2.29361 2.08487 V
C.Gordon Darwin, Grandson of C. Robert Darwin developed the dynamic theory of scattering of x-rays (a tough theory!) in 1912
When X-rays hit a specimen, the interaction can
result in various signals/emissions/effects.
The coherently scattered X-rays are the ones Incident X-rays
important from a XRD perspective.

SPECIMEN Absorption (Heat)

Fluorescent X-rays

Scattered X-rays
Compton recoil Photoelectrons

Coherent Incoherent (Compton modified)

From bound charges From loosely bound charges

Click here to know more

Transmitted beam

X-rays can also be refracted (refractive index slightly less than 1) and reflected (at very small angles)
Diffraction Click here to Understand Diffraction

Now we shall consider the important topic as to how X-rays interact with a
crystalline array (of atoms, ions etc.) to give rise to the phenomenon known as X-
ray diffraction (XRD).
Let us consider a special case of diffraction a case where we get sharp[1]
diffraction peaks.
Diffraction (with sharp peaks) (with XRD being a specific case) requires three important conditions to
be satisfied:
Radiation related Coherent, monochromatic, parallel waves
& (with wavelength ).

Sample related Crystalline array of scatterers* with spacing of the order of (~) .

Diffraction geometry related Fraunhofer diffraction geometry (& this is actually part of the Fraunhofer geometry)

Coherent, monochromatic, parallel wave

Aspects related to the wave

Diffraction pattern
Aspects related to the material Crystalline*,**
with sharp peaks
Aspects related to the diffraction set-up
(diffraction geometry) Fraunhofer geometry
[1] The intensity- plot looks like a function (in an ideal situation).
* A quasicrystalline array will also lead to diffraction with sharp peaks (which we shall not consider in this text).
** Amorphous material will give broadened (diffuse) peak (additional factors related to the sample can also give a diffuse peak).
Some comments and notes

The waves could be:

electromagnetic waves (light, X-rays),
matter waves** (electrons, neutrons) or
mechanical waves (sound, waves on water surface).
Not all objects act like scatterers for all kinds of radiation.
If wavelength is not of the order of the spacing of the scatterers, then the number
of peaks obtained may be highly restricted (i.e. we may even not even get a
single diffraction peak!).
In short diffraction is coherent reinforced scattering (or reinforced scattering of coherent waves).
In a sense diffraction is nothing but a special case of constructive (& destructive)
To give an analogy the results of Youngs double slit experiment is interpreted as interference, while the result of
multiple slits (large number) is categorized under diffraction.
Fraunhofer diffraction geometry implies that parallel waves are impinging on the
scatterers (the object), and the screen (to capture the diffraction pattern) is placed far away
from the object.
Click here to know more about Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction geometries

** With a de Broglie wavelength

XRD the first step
A beam of X-rays directed at a crystal interacts with the electrons of the atoms in the crystal.
The electrons oscillate under the influence of the incoming X-Rays and become secondary sources
of EM radiation.
The secondary radiation is in all directions.
The waves emitted by the electrons have the same frequency as the incoming X-rays coherent.
The emission can undergo constructive or destructive interference.

Incoming X-rays emission

Oscillating charge re-radiates In phase with

the incoming x-rays


Sets nucleus into oscillation

Sets Electron cloud into oscillation
Small effect neglected
Some points to recon with
We can get a better physical picture of diffraction by using Laues formalism* (leading to the Laues
However, a parallel approach to diffraction is via the method of Bragg, wherein diffraction can be
visualized as reflections from a set of planes.
As the approach of Bragg is easier to grasp we shall use that in this elementary text.
We shall do some intriguing mental experiments to utilize the Braggs equation (Braggs model) with

Let us consider a coherent wave of X-rays impinging on a crystal with atomic planes at an
angle to the rays.
Incident and scattered waves are in phase if the:
i) in-plane scattering is in phase and
ii) scattering from across the planes is in phase.

In plane scattering is in phase

Incident and scattered
waves are in phase if
Scattering from across planes is in phase A Laue diffraction pattern
with sharp peaks.

*Max von Laues postulate: If (i) crystals have a periodic arrangement of atoms and if (ii)
x-rays of waves (concepts which were not confirmed till ), then crystals should act like a
diffraction grating for x-rays. Both these postulates (i & ii) were proved by a single
experiment by Laue (published in 1912 which won him the noble prize in 1914).
Let us consider in-plane scattering

Atomic Planes

There is more to this

Click here to know more and get
introduced to Laue equations describing

Extra path traveled by incoming waves AY

These can be in phase if
Extra path traveled by scattered waves XB incident = scattered

But this is still reinforced scattering

and NOT reflection

Warning: we are using ray diagrams in spite of
being in the realm of physical optics Let us consider scattering across planes

Click here to visualize

constructive and
destructive interference

See Note later

A portion of the crystal is shown for clarity- actually, for destructive interference to occur
many planes are required (and the interaction volume of x-rays is large as compared to that shown in the schematic).
The scattering planes have a spacing d.
Ray-2 travels an extra path as compared to Ray-1 (= ABC). The path difference between
Ray-1 and Ray-2 = ABC = (d Sin + d Sin) = (2d.Sin).
For constructive interference, this path difference should be an integral multiple of :
n = 2d Sin the Braggs equation. (More about this sooner).
The path difference between Ray-1 and Ray-3 is = 2(2d.Sin) = 2n = 2n. This implies that if Ray-1
and Ray-2 constructively interfere Ray-1 and Ray-3 will also constructively interfere. (And so forth).
The previous page explained how constructive interference occurs. How about the rays just of
Bragg angle? Obviously the path difference would be just off as in the figure below. How
come these rays go missing?

Click here to understand how

destructive interference of
just of-Bragg rays occur

Interference of Ray-1 with Ray-2

Which remains same
Note that they almost constructively interfere! thereafter (like in the
BB plane)

Funda Check How to see that path difference increases with angle?

Clearly ABC > ABC

Laue versus Bragg*
In Laues picture constructive and destructive interference at various points in space is
computed using path differences (and hence phase differences) given a crystalline array of
Bragg simplified this picture by considering this process as reflections from atomic planes.
(More about the Braggs viewpoint soon). Click here to know more about the Laue Picture

*Sir William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg (this won the father and son team the noble prize in
Since there are two Braggs involved, wherever we
refer to the law or the equation it has be Braggs (and
[1] not Braggs as I have done in this chapter)

The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to

discover new ways of thinking about them. William Lawrence Bragg.
Reflection versus Diffraction
Though diffraction (according to Braggs picture) has been visualized as a reflection from a
set of planes with interplanar spacing d diffraction should not be confused with
reflection (specular reflection).
Reflection Diffraction
Occurs throughout the bulk
Occurs from surface (though often the penetration of x-rays in only of the
order of 10s of microns in a material)

Takes place at any angle Takes place only at Bragg angles

~100 % of the intensity may be reflected Small fraction of intensity is diffracted

Note: X-rays can ALSO be reflected at very small angles of incidence Planes are imaginary constructs

Quantum If n = 2d Sin is the Braggs equation, then what is the (famous) Braggs
Braggs Law
The diffracted beam appears to be specularly reflected from a set of crystal lattice planes.
Angle of incidence = Angle of reflection.
Understanding the Braggs equation

n = 2d Sin
The equation is written better with some descriptive subscripts:

n Cu K 2 d hkl Sin hkl If this equation is satisfied, then is Bragg

n is an integer and is the order of the reflection

(i.e. how many wavelengths of the X-ray go on to make the path difference between planes). Note:
Note: if hkl reflection (corresponding to n=1) occurs at hkl then 2h 2k 2l reflection (n=2) will occur at a higher angle 2h 2k 2l.

Braggs equation is a negative statement

If Braggs eq. is NOT satisfied NO reflection can occur
If Braggs eq. is satisfied reflection MAY occur
(How?- we shall see this a little later).
The interplanar spacing appears in the Braggs equation, but not the interatomic
spacing a along the plane (which had forced incident = scattered); but we are not
free to move the atoms along the plane randomly click here to know more.
For large interplanar spacing the angle of reflection tends towards zero as d increases,
Sin decreases (and so does ).
The smallest interplanar spacing from which Bragg diffraction can be obtained is /2
maximum value of is 90, Sin is 1 from Bragg equation d = /2.
Order of the reflection (n)
For Cu K radiation ( = 1.54 ) and d110= 2.22

n Sin = n/2d

1 0.34 20.7 First order reflection from (110) 110

Second order reflection from (110) planes 110
2 0.69 43.92
Also considered as first order reflection from (220) planes 220

Relation between dnh nk nl and dhkl

d Cubic crystal
hkl e.g.
h2 k 2 l 2 a d 220 1
d 220
d nh nk nl 8 d110 2
(nh) 2 ( nk ) 2 ( nl ) 2
a d
d110 d 220
dnh nk nl hkl 2 2
n h2 k 2 l 2 n
In XRD nth order reflection from (h k l) is considered as 1st order reflection from (nh nk nl)
n 2dhkl sin hkl
d nh nk nl 1
d hkl
2 sin d hkl n d 200 1

n d100 2
2dnh nk nl sin nh nk nl
All these form the (200) set
Hence, (100) planes are a subset of (200) planes

d300 1

d100 3

Important point to note:

In a simple cubic crystal, 100, 200, 300 are all allowed reflections. But, there are no atoms in the
planes lying within the unit cell! Though, first order reflection from 200 planes is equivalent
(mathematically) to the second order reflection from 100 planes; for visualization purposes of
scattering, this is better thought of as the later process (i.e. second order reflection from (100) planes).
Technically, in Miller indices we factor out the common factors. Hence, (220) 2(110) (110).
In XRD we extend the usual concept of Miller indices to include planes, which do not pass through
lattice points (e.g. every alternate plane belonging to the (002) set does not pass through lattice points)
and we allow the common factors to remain in the indices.
I have seen diagrams like in Fig.1 where rays seem to be scattered from nothing!
Funda Check What does this mean?

Few points are to be noted in this context. The ray picture is only valid in the realm of geometrical
optics, where the wave nature of light is not considered (& also the discrete nature of matter is
ignored; i.e. matter is treated like a continuum). In diffraction we are in the domain of physical optics.
The wave impinges on the entire volume of material including the plane of atoms (the effect of which
can be quantified using the atomic scattering power* and the density of atoms in the plane). Due to the
incoming wave the atomic dipoles are set into oscillation, which further act like emitter of waves
In Braggs viewpoint, the atomic planes are to be kept in focus and the wave (not just a ray) impinges
on the entire plane (some planes have atoms in contact and most have atoms, which are not in contact
along the plane see Fig.2).
Wave impinging on a crystal (parallel wave-front) Fig.2
(note there are no rays)

* To be considered later
A plane in Braggs viewpoint can be characterized by two factors: (a) atomic density (atoms/unit area on the plane), (b) atomic scattering
factor of the atoms.
More about the Braggs viewpoint

It is difficult to give an explanation of the nature of the semi-transparent layers or

planes that is immediately convincing, as they are a concept rather than a physical
reality. Crystal structures, with their regularly repeating patterns, may be referred to a 3D
grid and the repeating unit of the grid, the unit cell, can be found. The grid may be
divided up into sets of planes in various orientations and it is these planes which are
considered in the derivation of Braggs law. In some cases, with simple crystal
structures, the planes also correspond to layers of atoms, but this is not generally the
case. See Section 1.5 for further information.
Some of the assumptions upon which Braggs law is based may seem to be rather
dubious. For instance, it is known that diffraction occurs as a result of interaction
between X-rays and atoms. Further, the atoms do not reflect X-rays but scatter or diffract
them in all directions. Nevertheless, the highly simplified treatment that is used in
deriving Braggs law gives exactly the same answers as are obtained by a rigorous
mathematical treatment. We therefore happily use terms such as reflexion (often
deliberately with this alternative, but incorrect, spelling!) and bear in mind that we are
fortunate to have such a simple and picturesque, albeit inaccurate, way to describe what
in reality is a very complicated process. [1]

[1] Anthony R West, Solid State Chemistry and its Applications, Second Edition, John Wiley & Sons Ltd., Chichester, 2014.
Funda Check How is it that we are able to get information about lattice parameters of the order
of Angstroms (atoms which are so closely spaced) using XRD?

Diffraction is a process in which

linear information (the d-spacing of the planes)
is converted to angular information (the angle of diffraction, Bragg).
If the detector is placed far away from the sample (i.e. R in the figure below is large) the
distances along the arc of a circle (the detection circle) get amplified and hence we can make
easy measurements.
This also implies that in XRD we are concerned with angular resolution instead of linear

Later we will see that in powder

diffraction this angle of deviation
(2) is plotted instead of .
Forward and Back Diffraction
Here a guide for quick visualization of forward and backward scattering (diffraction) is presented
What is (theta) in the Braggs equation?
Funda Check

is the angle between the incident x-rays and the set of parallel atomic planes (which have
a spacing dhkl). Which is 10 in the above figure.
Usually, in this context implies Bragg (i.e. the angle at which Braggs equation is
It is NOT the angle between the x-rays and the sample surface (note: specimens could be
spherical or could have a rough surface).
The missing reflections
We had mentioned that Braggs equation is a negative statement: i.e. just because Braggs
equation is satisfied a reflection may not be observed.
Let us consider the case of Cu K radiation ( = 1.54 ) being diffracted from (100)
planes of Mo (BCC, a = 3.15 = d100).

2 d100 Sin100 Sin100 0.244 100 14.149 But this reflection is
2 d100 2(3.15) absent in BCC Mo

The missing reflection is due to the presence of additional atoms in the unit cell
(which are positions at lattice points) which we shall consider next.

The wave scattered from the middle plane is out of phase

with the ones scattered from top and bottom planes. I.e. if
the green rays are in phase (path difference of ) then the
red ray will be exactly out of phase with the green rays
(path difference of /2).
Continuing with the case of BCC Mo
However, the second order reflection from (100) planes (which is equivalent to the first order
reflection from the (200) planes is observed
2 1.54
Sin100 0.48 2nd order
100 ~ 1nd order
200 29.26
2 d100 3.15
This is because if the green rays have a path difference of 2 then the red ray will have path
difference of which will still lead to constructive interference!

Why does the 110 reflection not go missing? (Why is it present?)

Funda Check

Let us look at the (110) planes in projection.

Note that (110)blue coloured planes existed before and after introducing an
atom at unit cell centre at (, )grey coloured. Thus lattice centering
does not lead to any waves being scattered out of phase.

Presence of additional atoms/ions/molecules in the UC

at lattice points (as we may chose a non-primitive unit cell)
or as a part of the motif
can alter the intensities of some of the reflections
Some of the reflections may even go missing

Position of the reflections/peaks tells us about the lattice type.

The Intensities tells us about the motif.
Intensity of the Scattered Waves
Braggs equation tells us about the position of the diffraction peaks (in terms of ) but
tells us nothing about the intensities. The intensities of the peaks depend on many factors as
considered here.
Scattering by a crystal can be understood in three steps

To understand the scattering from a crystal leading to the

A intensity of reflections (and why some reflections go
missing), three levels of scattering have to be considered:
Electron Polarization factor 1) scattering from electrons
2) scattering from an atom
3) scattering from a unit cell
Click here to know the details
B Structure Factor (F): The resultant wave scattered
by all atoms of the unit cell
Atom Atomic scattering factor (f) The Structure Factor is independent of the shape
and size of the unit cell; but is dependent on the
position of the atoms/ions etc. within the cell

Unit cell (uc) Structure factor (F) Structure factor calculations
Click here to know more about Intensity in powder patterns
The concept of a Reciprocal lattice and the Ewald Sphere construction:
Reciprocal lattice and Ewald sphere constructions are important tools towards understanding
(especially diffraction in a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM))
A lattice in which planes in the real lattice become points in the reciprocal lattice is a very
useful one in understanding diffraction.
Structure factor calculations give us the intensities which decorate the reciprocal lattice to
give us the reciprocal crystal.
click here & here to go to a detailed description of these topics.

Click here to know more about Structure Factor Calculations

Click here to know more about Reciprocal Lattice & Ewald Sphere construction
Selection / Extinction Rules
As we have noted before even if Braggs equation is satisfied, reflections may go missing
this is due to the presence of additional atoms in the unit cell.
The reflections present and the missing reflections due to additional atoms in the unit cell are
listed in the table below. Click here to see the derivations
Structure factor calculations

Bravais Lattice Reflections which may be present Reflections necessarily absent

Simple all None
Body centred (h + k + l) even (h + k + l) odd
Face centred h, k and l unmixed (i.e. all even or all odd) h, k and l mixed

End centred (C centred) h and k unmixed h and k mixed

Bravais Lattice Allowed Reflections

SC All
BCC (h + k + l) even
FCC h, k and l unmixed
Either, h, k and l are all odd or
all are even & (h + k + l) divisible by 4
h2 + k2 + l2 SC FCC BCC DC
Allowed reflections in
1 100
SC*, FCC*, BCC* &
2 110 110
DC crystals
3 111 111 111
4 200 200 200
5 210
6 211 211
8 220 220 220 220
Cannot be expressed as (h2+k2+l2) 9 300, 221
10 310 310
11 311 311 311
12 222 222 222
13 320
14 321 321
16 400 400 400 400
17 410, 322
* lattice decorated with 18 411, 330 411, 330
monoatomic/monoionic motif
19 331 331 331
Crystal structure determination
As diffraction occurs only at specific Bragg angles, the chance that a reflection is
observed when a crystal is irradiated with monochromatic X-rays at a particular
angle is small (added to this the diffracted intensity is a small fraction of the beam used
for irradiation).
The probability to get a diffracted beam (with sufficient intensity) is increased by
either varying the wavelength () or having many orientations (rotating the
crystal or having multiple crystallites in many orientations).
The three methods used to achieve high probability of diffraction are shown below.

Many s (orientations) POWDER fixed

Monochromatic X-rays Powder specimen METHOD variable

LAUE variable
Panchromatic X-rays Single

Varied by rotation CRYSTAL
Monochromatic X-rays rotated
Only the powder method (which is commonly used in materials science) will be considered in this text.
In the powder method the specimen has crystallites (or grains) in many orientations
(usually random).
Monochromatic* X-rays are irradiated on the specimen and the intensity of the
diffracted beams is measured as a function of the diffracted angle.
In this elementary text we shall consider cubic crystals.

dhkl Cubic a
2 d Sin (1) Cubic crystal (2)
h2 k 2 l 2
(2) in (1)

4 a 2
sin 2
4a 2
2 2 2
(h 2 k 2 l 2 ) sin 2
h k l 2

a2 (h 2 k 2 l 2 ) (h 2 k 2 l 2 ) sin 2
4 sin 2

* In reality this is true only to an extent

The ratio of (h2 + k2 + l2) derived from extinction rules (earlier page)
As we shall see soon the ratios of (h2 + k2 + l2) is proportional to Sin2
which can be used in the determination of the lattice type

SC 1 2 3 4 5 6 8
BCC 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
FCC 3 4 8 11 12
DC 3 8 11 16

Note that we have to consider the ratio of only two lines to distinguish FCC and DC. I.e. if the
ratios are 3:4 then the lattice is FCC.
But, to distinguish between SC and BCC we have to go to 7 lines!
In the powder sample there are crystallites in different random orientations (a polycrystalline
sample too has grains in different orientations)
The coherent x-ray beam is diffracted by these crystallites at various angles to the incident direction
All the diffracted beams (called reflections) from a single plane, but from different crystallites lie
on a cone.
Depending on the angle there are forward and back reflection cones.
A diffractometer can record the angle of these reflections along with the intensities of the reflection
The X-ray source and diffractometer move in arcs of a circle- maintaining the Bragg reflection
geometry as in the figure (right) Usually the source is
fixed and the
detector and sample
Different cones are rotated
for different

Also called Debye ring

How to visualize the occurrence of peaks at various angles
It is somewhat difficult to actually visualize a random assembly of crystallites giving peaks at various angels in a XRD
scan. The figures below are expected to give a visual feel for the same. [Hypothetical crystal with a = 4 is assumed with
=1.54. Only planes of the type xx0 (like (100,110)are considered].
For convenience the source
may be stationary (and the
sample and detector may
rotate but the effect is

Random assemblage of
crystallites in a material
As the scan takes place at increasing
angles, planes with suitable d,
which diffract are picked out from
favourably oriented crystallites

h2 hkl d Sin()

1 100 4.00 0.19 11.10

2 110 2.83 0.27 15.80
3 111 2.31 0.33 19.48
4 200 2.00 0.39 22.64
5 210 1.79 0.43 25.50
6 211 1.63 0.47 28.13
8 220 1.41 0.54 32.99

9 300 1.33 0.58 35.27

10 310 1.26 0.61 37.50

Determination of Crystal Structure from 2 versus Intensity Data in Powder Method

In the power diffraction method a 2 versus intensity (I) plot is obtained from the
diffractometer (and associated instrumentation).
The intensity is the area under the peak in such a plot (NOT the height of the peak).
The information of importance obtained from such a pattern is the relative intensities*
and the absolute value of the intensities is of little importance (the longer we irradiate the sample the more will be
the intensity under the peak) (for now).

I is really diffracted energy (as Intensity is Energy/area/time).

A table is prepared as in the next slide to tabulate the data and make calculations to find the
crystal structure (restricting ourselves to cubic crystals for the present).

* Relative intensity: Intensity of any peak divided by

the intensity of the strongest peak. Powder diffraction pattern from Al

Intensity (I) has units of Radiation: Cu K, = 1.54

[Energy/area/time] but here it
is plotted as arbitrary units.
Increasing d This is peak (sometimes called a
line- a hangover from Debye
Scherrer camera usage)

Usually in degrees () Increasing

Determination of Crystal Structure (lattice type) from 2 versus Intensity Data

The following table is made from the 2 versus Intensity data (obtained from a XRD experiment on a
powder sample (empty starting table of columns is shown below- completed table shown later).

n 2 Intensity Sin Sin2 ratio

Powder diffraction pattern from Al Radiation: Cu K, = 1.54

These are Miller indices in reciprocal

space (these are not planes they
correspond to panes in real space)

This is a schematic pattern
In real patterns peaks or not idealized peaks broadened
Increasing splitting of peaks with g
(1 & 2 peaks get resolved in the high angle peaks)
Peaks are all not of same intensity
No brackets are used around the indexed numbers
(the peaks correspond to planes in the real space)

Note that there are no brackets

around the indices!
Powder diffraction pattern from Al Radiation: Cu K, = 1.54

Peaks or not idealized peaks broadened.

Increasing splitting of peaks with g .
Peaks are all not of same intensity.
There is a noisy background.
Here the background is subtracted
(else we may have a varying background).



In low angle peaks K1 & K2 peaks merged K1 & K2 peaks resolved in high angle peaks
(in 222 and 400 peaks this can be seen)
Funda Check How are real diffraction patterns different from the ideal computed ones?

We have seen real and ideal diffraction patterns. In ideal patterns the peaks are functions.
Real diffraction patterns are different from ideal ones in the following ways:
Peaks are broadened
Could be due to instrumental, residual non-uniform strain (microstrain), grain size etc. broadening.
Peaks could be shifted from their ideal positions
Note peak splitting has not been
Could be due to uniform strain macrostrain. included here as this comes from
symmetry lowering (i.e. crystal with
Relative intensities of the peaks could be altered lower symmetry)
Could be due to texture in the sample.

Instrumental broadening Macro-strain will lead to peak shift, while

micro-strain (e.g. due to dislocations will lead
Peak Broadening Small crystallite size to peak broadening)

Including those coming from strain

Crystal defects (bent planes) Click here to know more
fields associated with these defects

Funda Check What is the maximum value of possible (experimentally)? Ans: 90

At = 90 the reflected ray is opposite in

direction to the incident ray.
Beyond this angle, it is as if the source and
detector positions are switched.
2max is 180.
Funda Check What will determine how many peaks I will get?

1) smaller the wavelength of the X-rays, more will be the number of peaks possible.
From Braggs equation: [=2dSin], (Sin)max will correspond to dmin. (Sin)max=1.
Hence, dmin=/2. Hence, if is small then planes with smaller d spacing (i.e. those which
occur at higher 2 values) will also show up in a XRD patter (powder pattern). Given that
experimentally cannot be greater than 90.

2) Lattice type in SC we will get more peaks as compared to (say) FCC/DC. Other things being

3) Lower the symmetry of the crystal, more the number of peaks (e.g., in tetragonal crystal
the 100 peak will lie at a different 2 as compared to the 001 peak).

2dSin 2d min d min
Sin max 2
Solved example
Determination of Crystal Structure (lattice type) from 2 versus Intensity Data
Let us assume that we have the 2 versus intensity plot from a diffractometer
To know the lattice type we need only the position of the peaks (as tabulated below)

# 2 Sin Sin2 ratio Index d

1 38.52 19.26 0.33 0.11 3 111 2.34
2 44.76 22.38 0.38 0.14 4 200 2.03
3 65.14 32.57 0.54 0.29 8 220 1.43
4 78.26 39.13 0.63 0.40 11 311 1.22
5 82.47 41.235 0.66 0.43 12 222 1.17
6 99.11 49.555 0.76 0.58 16 400 1.01
7 112.03 56.015 0.83 0.69 19 331 0.93
8 116.60 58.3 0.85 0.72 20 420 0.91
9 137.47 68.735 0.93 0.87 24 422 0.83
10 163.78 81.89 0.99 0.98 27 333 0.78

Note that Sin cannot be > 1

From the ratios in column 6 we conclude that FCC Note
(h 2 k 2 l 2 ) sin 2
Using 2 d Sin 1.54 2 d111 Sin111 2 0.33
a 4.04 A Al We can get the lattice parameter which correspond to that for Al

Note: Error in d spacing decreases with so we should use high angle lines for lattice parameter calculation
Click here to know more XRD_lattice_parameter_calculation.ppt
Solved example

Another example
Given the positions of the Bragg peaks we find the lattice type

Dividing Sin2 by Whole

2 Sin Sin2 number
of Sin2 0.134/3 = 0.044667 ratios
1 21.5 0.366 0.134 1 3
2 25 0.422 0.178 1.33 3.99 4
3 37 0.60 0.362 2.70 8.10 8
4 45 0.707 0.500 3.73 11.19 11
5 47 0.731 0.535 4 11.98 12
6 58 0.848 0.719 5.37 16.10 16
7 68 0.927 0.859 6.41 19.23 19

Comparison of diffraction patterns of SC, BCC & B2 structures
Click here

More Solved
Examples on XRD Click here
Funda Check What happens when we increase or decrease ?

We had pointed out that ~ a is preferred for diffraction. Let us see what happens if we drastically
increase or decrease .
(This is only a thought experiment as obtaining monochormatic x-rays with any arbitrary wavelength and
good intensity is difficult!!)

Aluminium = 1.54 =3 = 0.1

hkl d Sin() 2 Sin() 2 Sin() 2
111 2.34 0.33 19.26 38.52 0.64 39.87 79.74 0.02 1.22 2.45
200 2.03 0.38 22.38 44.76 0.74 47.64 95.28 0.02 1.41 2.82
220 1.43 0.54 32.57 65.14 1.05 - - 0.03 2.00 4.01
311 1.22 0.63 39.13 78.26 1.23 - - 0.04 2.35 4.70
222 1.17 0.66 41.24 82.47 1.28 - - 0.04 2.45 4.90
400 1.01 0.76 49.56 99.11 1.49 - - 0.05 2.84 5.68
331 0.93 0.83 56.02 112.03 1.61 - - 0.05 3.08 6.16
420 0.91 0.85 58.30 116.60 1.65 - - 0.05 3.15 6.30
422 0.83 0.93 68.74 137.47 1.81 - - 0.06 3.45 6.91
333 0.78 0.99 81.89 163.78 1.92 - - 0.06 3.68 7.35

If we ~double we get too If we make small

With CuK = 1.54 few peaks all the peaks get
crowded to small
And the detector may not be able to resolve
these peaks if they come too close!
Applications of XRD

Bravais lattice determination

We have already seen these applications
Lattice parameter determination

Determination of solvus line in phase diagrams

Long range order

Crystallite size and Strain Click here to know more

Determine if the material is amorphous or crystalline Next slide

And More.
Intensity Crystal Schematics

Schematic of difference between

the diffraction patterns of various phases

Sharp peaks

0 90 180
Diffraction angle (2)
Monoatomic gas

No peak

Diffraction angle (2) Diffraction angle (2)


Liquid / Amorphous solid

0 90 180

Diffuse Peak

0 90 180
Amorphous solid
Diffuse peak from Actual diffraction
Cu-Zr-Ni-Al-Si pattern from an
Metallic glass amorphous solid

A amorphous solid which shows glass transition in a Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)
plot is also called a glass. In general usage a glass may be considered equivalent to a
amorphous solid (at least loosely in the structural sense).
Sharp peaks are missing. Broad diffuse peak survives
the peak corresponds to the average spacing between atoms which the diffraction experiment picks
(XRD patterns) courtesy: Dr. Kallol Mondal, MSE, IITK
Funda Check What is the minimum spacing between planes possible in a crystal?
How many diffraction peaks can we get from a powder pattern?

Let us consider a cubic crystal (without loss in generality) Cubic crystal

dhkl a
h2 k 2 l 2
As h,k, l increases, d decreases we could have planes with infinitesimal spacing

d13 a a
10 d34
25 5
The number of peaks we obtain in a powder
diffraction pattern depends on the wavelength
With increasing indices the
interplanar spacing decreases of x-ray we are using. Planes with d < /2 are
not captured in the diffraction pattern.
d10 a These peaks with small d occur at high angles
in diffraction pattern.

a d11
d12 2
Q&A How to increase the number of peaks in a XRD pattern?

We have noted that (e.g. for DC crystal) the number of available peaks in the 2 regime
could be insufficient for a given analysis.
The number of peaks can be increased in two ways:
1) using Mo K instead of Cu K
2) first obtain pattern with filter and then remove the filter to get more lines.