Impact and Customers
Materials with new or improved properties are continually being developed to meet demands for increased functionality of components and devices at decreased costs. Examples of multi-million dollar industries driven by materials advances are solid-state lighting (GaN-based devices), automotive (Pt-alloy catalytic converters) and prosthetic devices (ceramic dental crowns).
Crystalline compounds can be identified by their characteristic diffraction patterns using X-rays, neutrons and electrons. An estimated 20,000 X-ray diffractometers and a comparable number of electron microscopes are used daily in materials research and development laboratories for this purpose. The inclusion of the Material Measurement Laboratory's comprehensive crystal structure databases in diffraction instruments will greatly increase the number of materials that can be identified, improve the ability to discriminate between materials with similar structures, and is expected to result in increased instrument sales.
Customers and beneficiaries include diffraction instrument vendors (Oxford Instruments, PANalytical, Rigaku, EDAX) and materials developers and researchers in industry, academia and government.