- Identification of crystalline phases
- Quantification of minerals in polycrystalline materials
- Information about crystal structure: position of atoms, unit cell dimension
- Information about average dimension for crystals less than 1 µm.
The technique exploits the phenomenon of diffraction, which is a result of constructive interference of photons (Figure). When photons interact in a crystal structure, they scatter from the electrons of each atom. Where there is constructive interference, diffraction occurs.