NIST 1976c custom mount

It’s easy to forget how much of our scientific work hinges upon comparative data. The entire field of metrology is concerned with the verification and maintenance of “standard reference materials” (SRMs). Creating a perfect reference standard essentially involves proving a negative. In the XRD world, we need to prove that there are no impurities, no crystalline defects, no unaccounted for thermal variations, no stress/strain effects present, and above all, that the first unit produced is effectively identical to the last

PMMA vs Aluminum sample holders

Plastic sample holders have been the default option XRD for decades. They’re inexpensive to make, good enough for most purposes, and very resistant to a wide range of chemicals. Seems like a “win” all around right? As long as they’re made correctly and from the proper materials, these work just fine. Spoiler alert: 3D printed thermoplastics have a distinct structure so if you try making your own, be sure they’re well out of the irradiated area. Comparison of the same powder