X-ray diffraction techniques are useful for characterizing crystalline materials, such as metals, intermetallics, ceramics, minerals, polymers, plastics, and other inorganic or organic compounds. This article discusses the theory of x-rays and how they are generated and detected. It also describes the crystalline nature of certain materials and how the geometry of a unit cell, and hence crystal lattice, affects the direction and intensity of diffracted x-ray beams. The article concludes with several application examples involving measurements on single and polycrystalline materials.
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