Nano-Technology Research and X-Ray Analysis

Nano-Technology research involving materials structure analysis via X-ray Diffraction (XRD) by our experts

Nano-Technology research and X-Ray Analysis is applied to the understanding of characteristics of nano-materials and nanostructure of crystalline materials, semi-crystalline materials and amorphous materials in industries such as glass and polymers, and requires specialist understanding and interpretation of results.

Our experts use X-Ray Diffraction within world-class facilities, and possess in-depth XRD experience, working with a wide range of materials at the nano-scale level.

Crystallite dimensions and size are fundamental characteristics of nano-materials and microstructure (nanostructure), and are useful for understanding and controlling bulk properties. Small crystallite size results in broadened diffraction patterns. Analysis of peak shapes give information about crystallite size and other aspects of microstructure, particularly lattice distortions due to composition or micro-strain variations, and faulting.

Intertek XRD scientists analyse line-broadening using a simulation and refinement method that gives crystallite size distributions independent of any mathematical function to fit peak shapes. This means that multi-modal distributions can be characterised. Since this broadening is related to the geometry of lattice planes within the crystallites, it is possible to determine shape parameters by analysing multiple lines.

XRD provides an adaptable method for measuring crystalline phases, degree of crystallinity and structures. Materials measured range from polymers to glass ceramics. Detailed information about crystallinity are obtained by refining crystal structure parameters as a basis for structure and property relationships, e.g. in relation to the formation of solid solutions.

Crystalline orientation is another important measurement provided by XRD. Crystallites in a fabricated structure are often oriented as a design feature or as a characteristic of the processing technology. Nano-scale orientation can effect product performance. Measuring the orientation distribution of tiny nano-metre thick platelets on the surface of a polymer film can indicate alignment with the film surface, which can have a major impact on the surface properties of the polymer.

In-Situ measurements by XRD help clients understand what happens during processing, and helps reduce total costs of exploring different process conditions. In addition to following the kinetics of the phase changes, a more complete model of the system can be based on changes in the lattice parameters and crystallite sizes of the components.

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