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Current X-ray diffraction (XRD) methods usually require careful sample preparation, such as grinding to a fine powder. The sample, or part of it, is destroyed in the process. Conventional XRD instrumentation is bulky with limited portability, so samples have to be sent to off-site laboratories with a turnaround me of days or weeks.
University of Leicester researchers have developed handheld XRD instrumentation that can provide a rapid (1-2 mins) in situ phase analysis of a sample with no preparation requirement: