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Open Access Publications from the University of California

X-ray diffraction and heterogeneous materials: An adaptive crystallography approach


Cultural heritage materials are often complex and heterogeneous, with a multi-scale architecture. Phases from a variety of crystalline forms co-exist in a wide grain size distribution, with each of these phases keeping in their structural arrangement a memory of the transformations that occurred to the material. Over the last two decades, X-ray diffraction has been applied successfully to the study of cultural heritage materials, with the use of synchrotron facilities offering new possibilities to describe the structural features of such complex materials. The long-range and/or short-range organization of the different crystallographic phases as well as their global position/dispersion in the material are closely related to the properties of the material (optical, mechanical…), its manufacturing process, functionality, or long-term conservation. In this paper, possible diffraction setups and data collection strategies are discussed in order to retrieve adequate data from crystalline and amorphous phases and to take into account single-crystal contributions.

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