07 Aug 2023



ISIS' dedicated single-crystal Laue diffractometer

Overview of SXD instrument
​​​​​​​​​SXD instrument


SXD, the Single Crystal Diffractometer, uses the time-of-flight Laue technique to access large 3-D volumes of reciprocal space in a single measurement. This makes SXD especially powerful in applications involving surveys of reciprocal space, such as phase transitions and incommensurate structures, and also in applications where sample orientation may be restricted.

SXD is used for both crystal structure studies and diffuse scattering analysis.

Neutron diffraction is a powerful tool in studies of non-bonded contacts, specifically those involving hydrogen atoms, thermal parameter analysis, and in the area of charge density studies where neutron diffraction data provide complementary information to high resolution X-ray studies. The ability to measure a structure at more than one temperature can have significant benefits, either to characterise thermal parameter behaviour (methyl group librations in paracetamol) or to study disorder (proton transfer in benzoic acid). Diffuse scattering caused by both dynamic and static effects can be studied, allowing short range structure, defect structure and local orientational correlations to be probed. A major area of interest is in developing methods to allow the Bragg and diffuse scattering to be used together in an integrated way to give a full picture of the structure under study.

Science Areas.

  • Structure determination (including Hydrogen atom location)
  • Diffuse scattering (thermally induced disorder, disorder resulting from defect impurities, or the structure of short range magnetically ordered systems)
  • Phase transitions (including changes of symmetry, and superlattice reflections)
  • Incommensurate structures
  • Fibre diffraction


In October 1999, a grant of £1million was awarded by EPSRC to upgrade the SXD detectors. This allowed for the provision of a total of 11 detectors, almost completely surrounding the sample position. SXD is currently undergoing a further upgrade of these detectors to new wavelength-shifting fibre modules, increasing the count-rate of the instrument.

For more information, please see the instrument paper:

Contact information for SXD instrument

Location and contact information for the SXD beamline

Telephone01235 446891