Laboratory of X-ray Diffractometry

Keywords: X-ray powder diffraction, mineralogy, clay minerals, crystalline inorganic/organic materials, natural and synthetic solids


Research, teaching and third-party activities are carried out in the laboratory of X-ray Diffractometry, located in the Mineralogy headquarters in Piazza di Porta San Donato 1. In the laboratory, a series of studies, analyses and preparations are carried out on natural and synthetic pulverized solid samples, including minerals, clay minerals, rocks, biomineralizations (e.g., stones, shells, etc), ceramic materials, mortars, plasters, alteration/degradation products of Cultural Heritage, materials for the pharmaceutical industry, metals and alloys, and other solid materials, in order to identify and quantify the crystalline phases.


Equipment available to the laboratory

The X-ray Diffractometry laboratory is equipped with the following instrumentation:

- Philips X-ray diffractometer for powders, equipped with PW 3710 control unit and two goniometers with Bragg-Brentano geometry, one with a metallic filter on the primary beam and one with a curved graphite secondary monochromator.

- Basic equipment for specimen preparation (e.g., ultrasonic bath, dryer for the glycolation of clay minerals, etc.).

- Gravimetric separation columns for clay minerals in fine sediments and soils.


Didactic, training and research activities

The laboratory allows students to carry out internships and thesis (bachelor and master) and hosts Italian and foreign PhD students.

The laboratory also offers its resources to support:

  • Exercises of bachelor’s and master's courses in the field of Geological Sciences, Natural Sciences and Cultural Heritage;
  • Development of research projects.


Services and consultancy

Consultancy, service, technology transfer and innovation activities are also carried out for specific sector companies and private individuals.

The activities carried out are related to the study, detection and analysis of the crystalline phases present in natural and synthetic materials and matrices, the development of unconventional preparation methods, the study of the application of X diffraction to final products.

The consultancy and third-party activities are regulated by a constantly updated price list.


X-Ray Diffractometer

Goniometer with monochromator


XRD control unit and control station

Clay minerals sedimentation columns