The innovative automated multipurpose powder X-ray diffractometer was launched.
XRDynamic 500: Already in August 2021, selected customers and partner companies were able to take a look at the new product of the MCX product line, followed by the official market launch in mid-October. For five years, colleagues from Anton Paar GmbH, Anton Paar ShapeTec GmbH and AXO Dresden developed the automated multipurpose powder X-ray diffractometer under the leadership of Josef Gautsch.
XRDynamic 500 as the result of an important decision
Since the 1950s Anton Paar has been operating in the field of X-ray technology. At that time, the company presented the Kratky small-angle X-ray camera, the first scientific analytical instrument in company history. It was not only a commercially successful instrument for our company itself, but also marked the start of manufacturing measuring instruments at Anton Paar.
Anton Paar’s temperature chambers as accessories for X-ray diffractometers and the Kratky small-angle X-ray camera were the first products for scientific measurement technology that Anton Paar produced from the 1960s onwards and sold for many years through Philips (today Malvern Panalytical) and Siemens (today Bruker). A lot has happened since then, as CEO Friedrich Santner describes: “At that time, the company was too small to develop complete X-ray diffraction (XRD) instruments on its own, and there was no worldwide distribution for them. We had to rely on strong partners and were therefore reliant on others. Step by step, our X-ray division has developed further and can now proudly present a strong product portfolio by itself, which will be successively expanded over the next few years.”
“A few years ago, we started developing our own X-ray sources because we needed them for our SAXS instruments and they can also be used for X-ray diffractometers,” says Petra Kotnik, product line manager of Material Characterization – X-Ray (MCX). In 2019, AXO Dresden, an internationally recognized company, joined the Anton Paar GmbH Group, which is dedicated to the development and production of X-ray optics. “Due to the know-how within the companies and the cross-selling potential, we decided to properly enter the XRD business. The XRDynamic 500 is now the result of this decision.”
What is investigated?
X-rays have a wavelength that is very similar to the distance between atoms. This makes it possible to “look inside” the material and examine how the atoms are arranged in the material. In this way, mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of a material can be determined. X-rays are therefore not only important for science and medicine, but also for technical applications. The type of material can be analyzed, as well as its composition and the proportion of various components. With the XRDynamic 500, users can also examine their samples at different temperatures, as well as under the influence of gases or humidity.
Any type of powder is a potential sample for an X-ray diffractometer. “There are countless powders on our planet, which have a wide variety of functions. This also makes the XRDynamic 500 interesting for every industry,” explains Petra Kotnik. “Basically, the XRDynamic 500 is intended for basic research as well as applied research and development in science and industry.”
What is so special about the XRDynamic 500?
The centerpiece of the instrument is the TruBeam concept, which brings together a whole range of different features and components. The most important is the evacuated optics units. “An X-ray beam does not only interact with the sample, but also with the molecules in the air which immediately increases the background signal. Therefore when you create a vacuum, you reduce that noise and improve the data quality. Evacuating the optical units requires that all the different optical components within the instrument are appropriately encapsulated and automated. We can switch between different beam geometries, different optical components, and different sample stages. This high level of automation is not provided by any competitor. Furthermore, the adjustment of the device and the samples also takes place automatically, which increases the reliability of the results,” explains Petra Kotnik.
The only key component not manufactured by Anton Paar is supplied by the Czech company Advacam. The manufacturer produces the X-ray detector used in the XRDynamic 500. Advacam uses the Timepix3 chip – the latest detector technology developed at CERN. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is a major research facility located near Geneva. Basic physics research is carried out at CERN, in particular the structure of matter is investigated with the help of the well-known particle accelerator.
In recent months, several tests with the XRDynamic 500 have been conducted, for example at the Max Planck Institute in Mülheim, Ruhr, and the Technical University in Graz. The testers were particularly impressed by the intuitive operation of the software. The control software is very powerful and complex, yet remains user-friendly.
The prerequisites for a new successful chapter in the field of Material Characterization are given. Friedrich Santner is pleased: “Congratulations to the entire MCX team for this great achievement. Thus, the XRDynamic 500 closes the circle in time for the upcoming 100th anniversary next year.”