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X-ray diffraction techniques provide information regarding the formation and alteration of mineral phases that is critical for assessing geomicrobial processes. Of particular interest is the use of powder X-ray diffraction (pXRD) to identify unknown solid-state materials, determine the particle size of nanoscale mineral phases, and refine structure characteristics, such as unit cell parameters and atomic positions. The goal of this chapter is to provide practical knowledge for the successful preparation of solid mineral samples, optimal data collection strategies, and analysis of diffractograms collected from pXRD experiments. Specific uses of pXRD techniques in geomicrobiology are discussed to demonstrate the importance of diffraction in advancing our understanding of microbial communities in geologic systems.
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