Powder Diffraction: By Decades

  • William I. F. David
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series B: Physics and Biophysics book series (NAPSB)


This introductory chapter reviews the first 100 years of powder diffraction, decade by decade, from the earliest X-ray powder diffraction measurements of the crystal structure of graphite through to the diversity and complexity of twenty-first century powder diffraction. Carbon features as an illustrative example throughout the discussion of these ten decades from graphite and the disorder of carbon black through to lonsdaleite, the elusive hexagonal polymorph of diamond, and C60, the most symmetrical of molecules. Electronics and computing have played a leading role in the development of powder diffraction, particularly over the past 60 years, and the Moore’s Law decade-by-decade rise in computing power is clear in the increasing complexity of powder diffraction experiments and material systems that can be studied. The chapter concludes with a final discussion of decades – the four decades of length-scale from the ångstrom to the micron that not only represent the domain of powder diffraction but are also the distances that will dominate twenty-first century science and technology.


Carbon Black Powder Diffraction Nobel Prize Rietveld Method Neutron Powder Diffraction 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISIS Facility, Science and Technology Facilities CouncilRutherford Appleton LaboratoryDidcotUK
  2. 2.Inorganic Chemistry LaboratoryUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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