X-ray diffraction

Pink and yellow rings on purple

Elphidium (calcite shell) – Powder XRD pattern

The X-ray diffraction facility comprises several state-of-the-art instruments used for phase identification, quantification and crystal structure analysis.

The laboratory is specialised in the mineralogical characterisation of crystalline materials. We examine single crystals and powdered samples taken from rocks, ores, meteorites, soils, biominerals and manufactured materials.

Preparation labs are available for various pre-treatments, including the grinding of powders and clay-specific preparations (oriented mounts, glycol solvation, thermal treatments), and the setup of high-pressure experiments with diamond-anvil cells.

The most recent PDF-4 database from ICDD is available for phase identification. Standard minerals from the Museum collection are used for quantification of multi-phase mixtures.

An x-ray diffraction

(Na,H3O) jarosite – Single crystal XRD pattern (reconstructed hk0 layer) 

Critical elements research

We are using Museum collections and a focused research programme to develop strategies for the sustainable use of Earth's natural resources.

Meteoritics group

We are exploring the origins and evolution of the Sun, Moon, planets, asteroids and comets.

Mineral sciences group

The mineral sciences group manages one of the world's most significant mineral collections.