Design and Construction of an X-Ray Diffractometer

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Kirkland, Margaret
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Houghton College
The design and construction of an X-Ray diffractometer (XRD) is underway at Houghton College. XRD is commonly used to analyze the microstructures in thin metal films. The analysis is based upon Bragg’s law which incorporates wavelength, the angle of inclination, and the distance between lattice planes. Understanding the atomic lattice spacing of various materials reveals the orientation of the atoms which in turn affects the usefulness of thin films in applications such as microelectronics and coatings on a variety of surfaces. A 40 kV, 24 mA variable power supply produces x-rays, which are collimated toward a thin film. The thin film and detector are mounted on separate metal arms, which are rotated about a semicircle by Lin Engineering 101411 stepper motors. The speed and distance traveled by the motors are based upon requirements to apply Bragg’s law. Data collected is processed and outputted by LabVIEW.
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