X-Ray Powder Diffraction Characterization of Nanomaterials


We discuss here what important knowledge can be gained by X-ray diffraction (of course, more specifically, we talk of X-ray powder diffraction) experiments on nanoparticles and nanomaterials in general. Historically, the uses of X-ray diffraction have been to investigate (a) the crystal structure of materials at the atomic scale and (b) their microstructure, a broad term meaning deviations from perfect crystalline order on a scale that is larger than the atomic one but still microscopic. In fact, macroscopic properties of materials tend to depend on both of those. For nanomaterials, the focus is to understand how the small crystal domain extension and related phenomena influence properties that differ – often in a very useful way – from the parent crystalline material. This means that the focus is on the microstructure, due to the fact that reduced domain extension is a (strong) deviation from crystal order – this is by definition something that extends to infinity. Of course there exist crystalline phases that are stable only at the nanoscale – and in such case, the crystal structure determination still is very important. In this contribution, we shall review all modern experimental methods and especially – as this is the core of the method – the data analysis techniques currently used, from the oldest, based on the Bragg formalism to interpret crystal diffraction, to the newest, relying on atomic-scale modeling.

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X-Ray Powder Diffraction Characterization of Nanomaterials
Book Title
X-ray and Neutron Techniques for Nanomaterials Characterization
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  • Challa S.S.R. Kumar Send Email (1)
  • Editor Affiliation
  • 1 Integrated Mesoscale Architectures for Sustainable Catalysis (IMASC), Rowland Institute of Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
  • Authors
  • Antonio Cervellino Send Email (2)
  • Ruggero Frison Send Email (3) (4)
  • Norberto Masciocchi Send Email (5)
  • Antonietta Guagliardi Send Email (3)
  • Author Affiliation
  • 2 Swiss Light Source, Paul Scherrer Institut, Villigen, 5232, Switzerland
  • 3 Istituto di Cristallografia and To.sca.Lab., Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Como, 22100, Italy
  • 4 Department of Chemistry, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, Zurich, 8057, Switzerland
  • 5 Dipartimento di Scienza e Alta Tecnologia and To.sca.Lab., Università dell’Insubria, Como, 22100, Italy
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