Skip to main content

Improved cellulose X-ray diffraction analysis using Fourier series modeling

Abstract

This paper addresses two fundamental issues in the peak deconvolution method of cellulose XRD data analysis: there is no standard model for amorphous cellulose and common peak functions such as Gauss, Lorentz and Voigt functions do not fit the amorphous profile well. It first examines the effects of ball milling on three types of cellulose and results show that ball milling transforms all samples into a highly amorphous phase exhibiting nearly identical powder X-ray diffraction (XRD) profiles. It is hypothesized that short range order within a glucose unit and between adjacent units survives ball milling and generates the characteristic amorphous XRD profiles. This agrees well with cellulose I d-spacing measurements and oligosaccharide XRD analysis. The amorphous XRD profile is modeled using a Fourier series equation where the coefficients are determined using the nonlinear least squares method. A new peak deconvolution method then is proposed to analyze cellulose XRD data with the amorphous Fourier model function in conjunction with standard Voigt functions representing the crystalline peaks. The impact of background subtraction method has also been assessed. Analysis of several cellulose samples was then performed and compared to the conventional peak deconvolution methods with common peak fitting functions and background subtraction approach. Results suggest that prior peak deconvolution methods overestimate cellulose crystallinity.

Graphic abstract

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11

References

Download references

Acknowledgments

The research work in this paper is supported by the Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences under Award Number DE-SC0001090, and by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Agricultural Experiment Station 4602 under Accession Number 1009850. We thank two colleagues at Penn State University, Liza Wilson from Department of Biology for the training of ball milling and Nichole Wonderling from Materials Research Institute for the training and discussion on XRD analysis.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jeffery M. Catchmark.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 150 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yao, W., Weng, Y. & Catchmark, J.M. Improved cellulose X-ray diffraction analysis using Fourier series modeling. Cellulose 27, 5563–5579 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-020-03177-8

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-020-03177-8

Keywords

  • Amorphous cellulose
  • Ball milling
  • Crystallinity index
  • Crystal size
  • Fourier series
  • Peak deconvolution
  • X-ray diffraction