Tuesday, October 1, 2019

X-Ray Diffraction Equipment Extends Capabilities

BU has a new X-ray diffractometer in the Department of Environmental, Geological and Geographical Sciences (EGGS).

The powder X-ray diffractometer (PXRD) is a D2 Phaser made by Bruker. PXRDs are essential instruments in investigating the crystalline structures of solids. Applications for the type of research this acquisition allows include mineralogy, pharmacology, and solid-state chemistry.

X-ray diffraction (XRD) is a nondestructive technique for characterizing crystalline materials. Typically, XRD is used for the identification of a crystalline phase or mineral. However, it can also provide information on structures, preferred crystal orientation, and other structural parameters, such as average grain size and strain distribution.

In the near term, this instrument will be used by Dr. Adrian Van Rythoven (EGGS, shown at right) to understand the mineralogy of ore deposits, by Dr. Brett McLaurin (EGGS) to investigate airborne minerals that could constitute human health hazards, and by Dr. Daniel McCurry (Chemistry and Biochemistry) to examine electrode coatings.

Roughly the size of a large microwave, the PXRD will also be used in a variety of geology and chemistry undergraduate courses for practical exercises. This will provide applicable hands-on training using instrumentation that many of our graduates could encounter in their careers.

This purchase was made possible by a generous $129,192 National Science Foundation grant under the Major Research Instrumentation Program.

In addition, this purchase made possible the acquisition of a related instrument, a single-crystal X-ray diffractometer: a D8 Quest, also made by Bruker, to be installed later this fall by the Chemistry department.

These two acquisitions, along with the existing and planned instrumentation already at Bloomsburg, are a significant step in developing the campus as a major center for materials characterization in central Pennsylvania.

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