X-ray diffraction facility

This facility provides mineral identification and quantification, structure refinements, and mineral analytical advice to RSES, the wider ANU community and external customers.

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Dr Michael Förster

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The XRD facility provides mineral and phase identification and quantification services, crystal structure refinements, and mineral analytical advice to RSES, the wider ANU community and external customers. The Empyrean Series 3 multipurpose XRD accommodates various diffraction geometries, such as micro-XRD and Bragg-Brentano, and a range of sample formats (powders, solids, slurries). 

  • Contact lab manager for quote. Choice between DIY and service.
  • Prerequisites for DIY users: Basic knowledge in Mineralogy (eg. course EMSC 2023).


Malvern Panalytical Empyrean Series 3 multipurpose X-ray diffractometer with PIXcel3D detector (0D, 1D, 2D modes), CoKalpha radiation (point or line focus)

  • Powder XRD
    • Bragg-Brentano geometry  (incoming optic: BBHD)
    • Transmission geometry
    • Capillary spinner
    • Spinning stage
    • Automatic sample changer (45 samples)
  • Micro-XRD and solid samples
    • Footprint: 50-100 µm  (incoming optic: focussing lens)
    • Programmable xy+z stage
    • Alignment camera
  • Slurry-cell
    • In situ monitoring of crystal growth in liquid medium in transmission mode
  • Irradiated area (beam footprint)
    • Spot analyses:                     50-100 µm
    • Powders and large solids:  2-20 mm length, 8-20 mm width

Sample formats

  • Powders
  • Mineral separates
  • Solids    (hand specimen, thin sections, samples in polished resin-stubs, archaeological artefacts, pottery shards, stone tools, paper, etc. ..)
  • Liquid slurries (for in situ observation of crystal growth)
  • Pastes   (e.g., cement)
  • Sample weight:   1 mg - 10 kg
  • Sample size:        50 µm – 10x10x10 cm
  • Sample holders
    • Low-background (Si or quartz single-crystals)
    • End-loaded
    • Front-loaded
    • Capillary
    • Transmission foils (Kapton, Mylar)


  • Qualitative analysis
  • Quantitative analysis  (determination of phase abundances and amorphous content)
  • Clay identification  (treatments: Mg-saturation, glycolation, 350°C, 550°C)
  • Clay separation  (settling method)
  • Sample preparation  (crushing, milling, micronizing)
  • Illite crystallinity determination  (based on FWHM of 001-reflection, 10 Å)
  • Crystal structure refinement  (Rietveld method)
  • Calcite/Aragonite quantification  (e.g., corals, shells)
  • Training in usage of instruments and software

Sample Preparation Facilities

  • McCrone Micronizing Mill
  • Rocklabs Benchtop Mill
  • Spintron Centrifuge
  • Branson Ultrasonic Probe
  • Millipore Filter Method set-up for preparation of oriented clay samples
  • Drying oven (40°C) and furnace (<1200°C)
  • Fume-hood
  • Capillary alignment microscope
  • Tumbler
  • Accessories: Agate mortars, sieves, balances, desiccators

Data Analysis Software

  • ICDD PDF-2 Database
  • HighScore Plus, DiffracPlusEva 10.0
    • Search/Match
    • Quantitative analysis
    • Rietveld refinement
  • Siroquant V4 and SiPhase
    • Quantitative analysis
  • Topas (academic version)
    • Quantitative analysis
    • Rietveld refinement
  • Newmod
    • Modelling of interlayered clay minerals