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Tools for Visualizing and Understanding the Structure of Crystalline Ceramics

Learn about the capabilities and limitations of X-ray diffraction for ceramics

Learn On-Demand, OR join virtually on July 30, 31, and August 1

Course Description

X-ray diffraction has been a mainstay of ceramic characterization since its inception. Powder diffraction allows us to determine and refine the crystal structure of ceramics to determine things like lattice parameters, site occupancy, thermal displacement parameters, texturing, weight fraction of multi-phase mixtures, and much more.

In recent years, python-based GSAS-II has made this process easier than ever. At the same time, visualization packages like VESTA and Python's Matplotlib allow us to visualize the results of Rietveld refinement and display structures in intuitive and beautiful ways.

Course Format

4.5 hours of instruction | Virtually

The course will cover:

  • General introduction to the Rietveld method
  • Detailed Rietveld refinement tutorials on powder and polycrystalline materials using GSAS-II (pyGSAS)
  • Quantitative phase analysis tutorials and example
  • Quantitative analysis of amorphous content in multiphase mixtures
  • General overview of the VESTA software package including tutorials for bonding, planes/directions, multi-phase interfaces, simulated XRD patterns, charge density difference plots, and more
  • Tutorial of Python's Matplotlib library for effectively visualizing diffraction data

Instructor Bio

Sparks 300x400

Taylor Sparks is Associate Chair of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Utah. He is also director of the Materials Characterization lab at the university and teaches classes on ceramics, materials science, characterization, and technology commercialization. His current research centers on the discovery, synthesis, characterization, and properties of new materials for energy applications.

Originally from Utah, Sparks previously worked at Ceramatec Inc. and is a pioneer in the emerging field of materials informatics whereby big data, data mining, and machine learning are leveraged to solve challenges in materials science.

Sparks holds a Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard University, an M.S. in materials from the University of California, Santa Barbara. When he’s not in the lab, you can find him running his podcast Materialism or canyoneering with his four kids in southern Utah.

Registration Rates

Nonmember Access: $595 • Member Access: $495

Customized training

Looking for training customized to your company? Do you want a course taught privately to your employees? Call Customer Service at 614-890-4700 for details, or contact Marcus Fish to learn about training benefits for our Corporate Partners.

*Employees of ACerS Corporate Partners receive the discounted Individual Member rate. Sapphire Corporate Partners receive an additional 20% discount; Diamond Corporate Partners receive an additional 30% discount. Please contact Customer Service or 614-890-4700 to register employees at the discounted Corporate Partner rates.

For other questions about ACerS online courses, email

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