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Departments & Programs


X-ray diffractometer

Rigaku powder x-ray diffractometer, Green 034

The Rigaku powder X-ray diffractometer (Green 034) provides a convenient method of identifying the minerals (or other crystalline solids) in powders, either in pure form or mixtures. Unit cell dimensions can be measured and related to compositions of solid solutions. Samples, typically a few hundred mg in weight, are usually run as loose powders placed in a shallow cavity on a special glass slide, which is held horizontally in the X-ray beam. The instrument has a standard “theta-theta” geometry, and currently is operated with a copper X-ray tube. The lab computer runs the JADE software package, with the JCPDS data base, making mineral characterization straightforward and often nearly automatic.

All users must complete radiation safety training, complete the certification test, and be assigned a film ring to be worn at all times when operating the machine. Please consult with lab supervisor Bob Jones (, 650-725-1677) for training and procedures, and see user information.

More advanced X-ray diffractometers are available in the Geballe Laboratory for Advanced Materials (GLAM) in the McCullough Building.