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Diffracted Beam Monochromators for Powder Diffractometry

  • E. M. Proctor (a1), T. C. Furnas (a1) and W. F. Loranger (a1)


The efficiency and effectiveness of diffracted beam x-ray monochromators used in powder diffractometry have been described in so many ways that much confusion exists regarding their true performance. Although significant improvements in signal to noise ratios are readily achievable, and they offer a solution to the sample fluorescence problem, it is not without sacrifice to total intensity or achievable resolution or both. This paper discusses and describes a series of comparisons between filtered direct beam, LiF and graphite monochromators.

These comparisons include the considerations necessary for the appropriate selection of diffracted beam slit system, the effect of vertical divergence as a function of two theta for singly bent crystals, the effects of a non-uniformity of contribution over the length of the crystal, and the geometry necessary for the singly bent and doubly bent crystals. The total intensity and the resolution of LiF and graphite are discussed, in particular, it is noted that the performance of monochromators with randomly oriented samples is quite different than their performance with samples showing preferred orientation or grain effects.

A new diffracted beam monochromator based on the Rowland focusing geometry is described.



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1. Lang, A. R., “Diffracted Beam Monochromatization Techniques in X-Ray Diffractometry”, The Review of Scientific Instruments, 27, 1725 (1956).
2. Birks, L. S., Electron Probe Microanalysis. John Wiley and Sons, New York, (1963).
3. Wilson, A. J. C., Mathematical Theory of X-Ray Powder Diffractometry, N. V. Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken, Einchoven, (1963).
4. Langford, J. I., “Counter Diffractometer—The Effect of Axial Divergence on the Breadth of Powder Lines”, Journal of Scientific Instruments, 39, pp. 515516, (1962).
5. Birks, L. S., Electron Probe Microanalysis, John Wiley and Sons, New York, (1963).


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