Our periodical X'Press, the customers' voice, contains news items, reports of trips and conferences and customer stories.
'How to invest?' is the central theme of the first issue of X’Press in 2017. In the future, we must move away from purely transactional business. Our customers around the world are asking more from their suppliers. Together, we will define and agree an approach to your challenges. Our solution will comprise not just an instrument but the relevant software, application knowledge and service. This will be installed and tested according to the requirements defined at the beginning of the process. In this way, we want to ensure that our customers are getting the most value from their investments with us.
A leading research institution in China, the renowned Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP), has been a long-term user of PANalytical instruments since September 2000. With a focus on energy research, DICP collaborates with both public and private institutions such as international oil giant BP and China BAK Battery, Inc, the world’s leading lithium battery manufacturer and electric energy solution provider, to support industrial production and development process.
Over the past 15 years, DICP has purchased close to 20 X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) instruments for the institute, including PANalytical’s X’Pert³ Powder and Empyrean diffractometers. Led by Professor Shao Jianping, the Public Test Center within the institute manages a great number of large analysis instruments. These are employed to support many different users with a wide variety of applications, including material characterization, materials composition analysis and phase structure analysis of catalysts, functional nanomaterials, minerals and many more. “Among the published papers produced by our institute, at least a hundred of them can present data and graphs from PANalytical’s XRD analysis”, says Professor Jianping.
The lab’s latest acquirement is PANalytical’s Zetium XRF spectrometer, which allows them to meet the most demanding applications, with its small spot analysis with mapping capabilities and the high sample throughput.
The Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP)
The Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP), an affiliate of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is located in Dalian, China. In the past half century, research at DICP has closely reflected the economic and scientific needs of China. The institute has built up an impressive portfolio of achievements, principally in the fields of catalysis, chemical engineering, chemical lasers, molecular reaction dynamics, organic synthesis, and chromatography for modern analytic chemistry and biotechnology.
Scientific analysis of historic illuminated manuscripts
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration or illustration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniatures. Illuminated, from the Latin illuminare (to light up), denotes the glow created by the radiant colors of the illustrations, as well as by real gold and silver. Illumination was costly and complex and was therefore usually reserved for special books like an altar Bible. Wealthy people often had richly illuminated ‘books of hours’, which set down prayers for various times during the liturgical day.
Illuminated manuscripts are artistically significant and maintain historic text documents by preserving their informative value. Researchers can distinguish between artists by analyzing which materials they used and how they employed them and it helps them to learn more about the technical know-how that these artists possessed1. Identifying the ways in which artists used the same materials in different media, or transferred materials and techniques across media, offers a whole new way of looking at art1. Because illuminated manuscripts are delicate and contain very thin layers of pigment they can be seriously compromised by taking samples1. In order to gather evidence on how the manuscripts were made, non-invasive techniques are required1, which need to keep the document safe but should be sensitive enough to get accurate results.
Dr. Paola Ricciardi is a research associate in the Department of Manuscripts and Printed Books of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and focuses on the use of non-invasive techniques like near-infrared (NIR) for the characterization of artist’s materials. Paola uses ASD’s FieldSpec® instrument and fiber optic reflectance spectroscopy (FORS) to map and identify artists’ materials of pigments and paint binders in illuminated manuscripts. The technique allows Paola to determine the composition of pigments as well as reveal underdrawings and preparatory sketches2 without damaging the valuable documents.
PANalytical’s Empyrean and X’Pert³ X-ray diffraction (XRD) systems are true multipurpose instruments, designed to support a wide range of applications. Even so, our specialists often meet scientists and analysts working with PANalytical equipment who would like to extend the possibilities even further, in line with new ideas for their own research. We at PANalytical continuously aim at providing the best possible solutions for our customers’ complex analytical problems or cost-effective production processes.
This means that we are always open to listen to our customers’ ideas. If your research could profit from other than the usual sample holders and stages, optical modules or analytical techniques, you are welcome to discuss your requirements with your local PANalytical sales representative who will subsequently approach the PANalytical Specials Team XRD.
This team consists of a number of experienced and highly motivated researchers and specialists from PANalytical who meet on a regular basis to analyze all special customer wishes received. In most cases the team can offer a tailor-made solution for the challenge addressed, sometimes preceded by additional discussions with the customer.
Exactly these contacts with our users are an inspiring source for our innovative product developments, not only in the field of materials science, but also in more specialized areas as pharmaceuticals, building materials and semiconductor metrology. Together we can work on advanced solutions for new requirements, keeping pace with the latest developments in the world of science and research. Check out our examples and see what we can do for you.
Recent highlights of PANalytical’s specials
Sample holders for the analysis of batteries
Research on battery materials is currently one of the hottest topics in materials science. Since these materials undergo a phase transition during charging and discharging cycles, XRD can provide a wealth of information on the condition of the battery in operando. PANalytical has developed a number of different sample holders for batteries to support this type of analysis. A coin cell or button cell can be inserted in a special circular sample holder, that can be attached to a sample stage in a clamping holder.
Pouch cells can be mounted onto a diffractometer with a holder for thin solid samples for transmission analysis. A spring-loaded clamping mechanism ensures automatic positioning in the center of the goniometer.
Electrochemical test cells can be created in a special version of a
commercially available test cell for the X-ray characterization of Li-ion
battery materials. This special version is the result of a cooperation
between the product specialists of EL-CELL (Hamburg, Germany) and
PANalytical’s Specials team XRD. Its wider X-ray window allows
access to lower 2theta-angles than the standard version.
Analysis of materials under stress
How do materials behave under applied stresses? At which strain does plastic deformation start? When are cracks appearing? The answers to these questions heavily depend on the microstructure of the material investigated.
You can now follow changes in the microstructure of a sample under welldefined stress and strain conditions in reflection mode. Just mount one of the compact Deben tensile stages onto a three-axes cradle on your Empyrean diffractometer. The change in preferred orientation of the crystallites in the sample can then be determined by analyzing the measured X-ray pole figures.
Alternatively, you can obtain information on the elastic behavior of stretched polymer samples from 2D diffractograms, measured in transmission mode.
The Bragg-BrentanoHD family
PANalytical’s Bragg-BrentanoHD is an optical module for the incident beam path that is designed to obtain high-quality powder diffraction data by Bragg-Brentano measurements. It delivers an improved peak-tobackground ratio and excellent lowangle performances. This module has originally been developed for Cu Kα radiation.
There are, however, analyses which profit from the use of a different wavelength. For example, Co Kα radiation is typically used for the analysis of iron-containing samples whereas Mo Kα radiation is preferred when a higher penetration depth into the sample is required.
To accommodate these needs, the Bragg-BrentanoHD family has now been extended with special versions for cobalt and molybdenum radiation, delivering the same superb data quality as for copper radiation.
Our customers’ challenges are the most inspiring source for many of our developments.Hans te Nijenhuis, Commercial project leader of PANalytical’s Specials Team XRD
How can a PANalytical engineer master the challenge of maintaining the large variety of complex and high-tech instruments in our product portfolio? How can a user be sure that he makes optimal use of his PANalytical instrument? X’Press asked John Oude Egbrink, PANalytical’s global customer support director, and Huub Smit, Application Competence Center (ACC) manager, to share their view on the latest investments for a successful support to our customers.
John could you tell us about the challenges for a PANalytical customer support engineer (CSE)?
At PANalytical, a CSE signs up for a life of learning based on the multitude of challenges he or she can be faced with: from mastering all of PANalytical’s technologies to being the company’s ambassador in front of our customers.
The most important aspect in case a customer needs support, is to insure that all services are provided professionally and in the quickest possible way. Here, the engineer relies on everything he has learned from his training but also on his skills to manage the various moving ‘parts’ of the process (e.g organizing spare parts shipments, cross check with customer support specialists on the diagnosis etc.) to achieve his or her responsibility of meeting the customers’ expectations and securing their satisfaction.
Besides the intrinsic challenges of his own profession, geographical location is often a challenge in itself because PANalytical’s customers can be located in the most remote places imaginable and just getting there will impact the system’s uptime. In the end, whether remote or not, excellent preparation is key to serving our customers the first time right. The challenges can basically be summarized by two of our five values: Customer Focus and High Performance.
How does PANalytical tackle these challenges?
We invest heavily in the training of our CSEs with a wide array of basic and advanced training for all our technologies. Our training centers are across the globe. There we start with the basic training of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and X-ray diffraction (XRD): installation, executing preventive maintenance and generic trouble shooting. Typically, after 6 to 12 months in the field, the CSE is ready for the advanced training in the Supply Center in Almelo, the Netherlands.
For some technologies we offer an even more in-depth training, for example for small-angle scattering (SAXS). Our instruments for the semiconductor industry, Semyos and the 2830 ZT Wafer Analyzer, need a specially designed training for a group of CS specialists. All CSEs are certified after successfully having passed the training. With safety being of utmost importance, frequent on-line rehearsal trainings are mandatory in addition to hands-on training.
Speed is of essence for our customers and therefore we strive for world-class performance on minimum-time-torepair and a 100% first-time-fix. If additional support is required, a CSE can always count on our CCC network with local presence in Australia, China, Japan, India, USA and Brazil and on our thirdtier CCC based in Almelo.
Customers increasingly value the possibilities to get support remotely through the internet. In this case we can run diagnostics locally. After retrieving and analyzing the data in one of our CCCs we can provide a solution. Alternatively we execute a real-time session in the CCC with a CSE on site.
Information sharing is crucial in our high-tech environment. All information on the specific instrument is at hand for any CSE through our customer database and all service manuals and other relevant service information are available through our library. This library is updated every week to share the latest information, created by the CS specialist group in the supply center.
We invest heavily in the training of our CSEs with a wide array of basic and advanced training for all our technologies>John Oude Egbrink, Global Customer Support Director at PANalytical
Huub, could you tell our readers what Expertise resides in the ACC?
Our application specialists play a key role in defining the solution that adds value to our customers’ processes or activities. When a customer is in the process of investing in a PANalytical system, (s)he wants to be sure that all analytical requirements are fulfilled by the proposed solution. This feasibility is proven by studying customer samples. Additionally, our specialists show the solution and possible extensions during a live demonstration.
Building on their knowledge of the customer’s industry or research, they deliver their Expertise by customizing the application and train the user, such that after installation and commissioning the important process parameters can be monitored or efficient and result-oriented research can be conveyed. Application specialists also conduct application courses in all our main competence centers worldwide. The course schedule on our website lists the numerous courses we organize during the year.
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Invest to reduce direct costs in your liquid-based production processes
Would you like your production process to be more efficient? Do you want to avoid using more reagents than needed or do you want to prevent producing waste by unnecessarily continuing a process? PANalytical will be able to help with the Epsilon Xflow, which is currently being developed. With this on-line liquid analyzer, to be introduced in spring 2017, you will be able to produce as cost-effectively as possible through the continuous analysis of the elemental composition of any liquid.
Industries are required to comply with increasingly stringent environmental norms and requirements for their products and production processes. On-line monitoring of these processes by continuously checking predefined conditions, will enable you to react immediately to any change in the process. It will result in more efficiency, enhance the use of resources and ensure product quality.
The analytical flexibility and superior performance will make the Epsilon Xflow a perfect addition to your process streams in a wide range of industries; e.g. mining, petrochemical, metal plating and food. Contact us and find out how you can invest to save by realtime monitoring or keep an eye on www.panalytical.com/Xflow for the Epsilon Xflow.
Do you often prepare samples for X-ray fluorescence analysis from molten mixtures? Are you sometimes having trouble with molten mixtures sticking to the platinumware? At Claisse®, we develop products with our customers’ needs in mind. This is why we created a new non-wetting agent tablet that decreases the tendency of the molten mixture to stick to the platinumware.
Generally, non-wetting agents are halides that can be pre-fused with fluxes or added as a solution. By reducing the surface tension of the molten mixture they prevent adhesion to the platinumware. The new nonwetting agent tablets from Claisse contain less organic matter than the original, thus ensuring superior analytical results.
Why don’t you try our new nonwetting agent tablets and facilitate your work? No weighing is required and no more time needs to be spent unsticking precious platinumware. Our non-wetting agent pills come in a pack of 500, and they will be available soon.
Contact your Claisse representative for more information on how Claisse can make your work easier by providing you with a wide range of high-quality products for your fusion process.