JOM
, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 140-149

High-Energy Synchrotron X-Ray Diffraction and Its Application to In Situ Structural Phase-Transition Studies in Complex Sample Environments

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Abstract

A solid may undergo a phase transition due to internal interaction competition or external stimuli. It is increasingly recognized that the lattice degrees of freedom often play a crucial role, especially in the vicinity of competing phases, where many intriguing properties exist. A crystal structure transition is usually accompanied by a drastic change in the mechanical, electrical, magnetic, and other properties. In situ study of the microscopic structural information of materials during phase transformation is of ultimate importance not only in understanding fundamental mechanisms but also in developing and processing advanced materials for broad technological applications. The availability of synchrotron-generated high-flux and high-energy x-rays has significantly advanced the field of materials research because of the deep penetration and low absorption of high-energy x-rays. Synchrotron high-energy x-ray diffraction facilities provide great research opportunities, especially for probing structural phase transformations of bulk materials in real time and in realistic conditions. In this overview we present technical details and capabilities of a synchrotron high-energy x-ray facility and its applications to in situ structural investigations of phase transitions in advanced materials in research areas ranging from condensed-matter and materials science and engineering to energy science.