X-ray diffractometry is a non-destructive technique that reveals the detailed information about the crystallographic structure of materials. By irradiating the sample with a monochromatic X-ray beam, a diffraction pattern showing the atomic distribution in the material is produced from the elastic scattering of X-ray. The spacings in the crystal lattice can be computed from the scattering signals in the diffraction pattern according to the Bragg's Law, 2dsinθ = nλ. The scattering angles, intensities and shapes in the diffractograms are unique to the type of crystalline materials and can provide information about the structure of materials. The phase of an unknown sample can be identified by comparing the diffractogram with the reference from the Powder Diffraction File.
X-ray diffractometry is widely used in qualitative and quantitative analysis of pigments from paintings & polychrome sculptures, determination of the metal corrosion processes, characterization of minerals in stones & ceramics, phase identification of inorganic compounds from murals, deterioration of crystalline materials, degree of material crystallinity, identification the efflorescence salts from historic buildings and stress / texture analysis of metals.