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X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) techniques are used to characterize samples in the form of loose powders, aggregates of finely divided material or polycrystalline specimens. This article provides a detailed account of XRPD. It begins with a discussion on XRPD instrumentation and the techniques used to characterize samples. The article then describes the principles, advantages, and disadvantages of various types of powder diffractometers. A section on the Rietveld method of diffraction analysis is then presented. The article discusses various methods and procedures for qualifying and quantifying phase mixtures in powder samples. It provides information on typical sensitivity and experimental limits on precision of XRPD analysis and other systematic sources of errors that affect accuracy. Some of the factors pertinent to the estimation of crystallite size and defects are also presented. The article ends with a few application examples of XRPD.

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