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A procedure for the refinement of the crystal unit cell from a powder diffraction scan is presented. In this procedure knowledge of the crystal structure is not required, and at the end of the refinement a list of indexed intensities is produced. This list may well be usable as the starting point for the application of direct methods. The problems of least-squares ill-conditioning due to overlapping reflections are overcome by constraints. An example, using decafluorocyclohexene, C6F10, shows the quality of fit obtained in a case which may even be a false minimum. The method should become more relevant as powder scans of improved resolution become available, through the use of pulsed neutron sources.
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