The University of Southampton

CHEM6130 Materials Characterization by X-Ray Diffraction

Module Overview

This module is aimed at chemists, physicists and engineers who wish to investigate the structural characteristics of materials via X-ray diffraction. It will begin by covering the basics of powder diffraction theory and rudimentary data interpretation and then move on to discuss more advanced techniques and their application to thin films and engineered materials.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Students will become familiar with the types of information that x-ray diffraction can provide on the structure of a wide variety of samples.
  • They will learn to interpret real data and extract structural information.
  • Through the coursework they will gain a greater insight into their own characterisation problems.
  • Extensive experience of the software packages PDXL, GSAS & Rex.Cell will be gained.


L1 Basic theory, Phase identification, Quantitative analysis L2 Indexing, cell refinement W1 Indexing & cell refinement (introduction to PDXL) L3 Line profile analysis (crystallite size & strain) W2 Line profile analysis L3 Rietveld refinement W3 Rietveld refinement L4 General considerations relating to thin films, Grazing incidence, In-plane, X-Ray reflectivity X-Ray reflectivity W4 Reflectivity fitting L5 High resolution measurements including reciprocal space maps and measurements on epitaxial films L6 Texture investigation and pole-figure measurements W5 Interpretation of pole figures L7 Residual stress L8 Small angle scattering + Pair distribution function L9 Synchrotron experiments L10/12 Neutron diffraction W4/5 Assessment support

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, demonstrations, workshops (worked examples).

Independent Study50
Total study time75



MethodPercentage contribution
Practical write-ups 20%
Practical write-ups 20%
Report 60%
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