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X-ray diffraction has long been an important method for obtaining information about the structure of a crystalline material, and the development of a source of high-intensity, highly focused X-rays with a very narrow energy range has allowed precise data to be collected much more quickly, and with smaller samples.
The X-rays used are produced by a Synchrotron, a huge circular particle accelerator (with a circumference approaching a kilometre), and are a million million times more intense than hospital X-rays, but focussed as fine as a human hair. The process allows amazingly detailed information on the positioning of atoms to be found. Researchers book "beam time" to make use of the facility. Synchrotrons at Grenoble (France) and Daresbury (UK) are both used for catalyst studies.










Synchrotron Radiation