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Crystallite Size

How large are the crystallites of the individual phases in the material?


Crystallite size is reported in nm for each individual crystallographic phase. The crystallite size is the average size of a coherent scattering domain (perfect arrangement of unit cells or perfect crystal). The crystallite size may affect dissolution, material strength, catalytic activity or product aging. Note that crystallite size and grain size are not necessarily the same, since a grain may be composed of multiple crystallites


Determination of crystallite size by XRD is ideal when crystallites are too small for optical methods, and XRD provides a bulk material sampling.

If the crystallite size is asymmetric (crystallites have preferred growth directions similar to graphite), two crystallite size components can be refined (Lc and Lg).


The principle of crystallite size measurements by x-ray diffraction is based upon the fact that the Fourier transform of different size crystallites varies inversely with the size of the crystallite. X-rays in the 0.15 nm range can measure crystallite sizes from approximately 2nm to 500nm.


The traditional measure of crystallite size is by the Scherrer equation, which shows that the crystallite size is inversely proportional to the peak width (FWHM), using the equation


Crystallite size (nm) = kl / FWHM (cos q)


Note that one average crystallite size is reported for the entire sample and the crystallite size distribution can be estimated.

 Determination of percentages of crystallite size in a sample

 Determination of Lc and Lg

 Technique compatible with m-diffraction and grazing incident modes.

 Technique compatible with m-diffraction and grazing incident modes.

 Simultaneous determination of crystallite size and micro-strain

Grain showing multiple crystallites (blue).

Rietveld refinement of a mixture of minerals in order to determine the crystallite size of one of the components. The crystallite size was determined to be 296nm 7nm.

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