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The furnace uses an analytical technique known as X-ray diffraction, in which an X-ray beam is focused on a small sample of material. The beam is diffracted by the crystal structure of each material, producing a unique pattern of concentric circles, called “Debye rings.” By capturing the images of the changes in the ring pattern as the material is heated and cooled, scientists gain a better fundamental understanding of what happens to the material’s crystal structure at various temperatures.
“We’re seeing details of the phase transitions in the materials that I don’t think anybody has ever described before,” said scientist Matt Kramer, who helped design the new furnace.
For additional information, contact Kramer at (515) 294-0276.