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X-ray Relflectometer

A Rigaku SmartLab has been installed to replace the Panalytical X'Pert Pro instrument. This instrument has a 9 kW rotating anode source enabling shorter measurement times and/or smaller samples.

The instrument has an area detector with the potential for in-plane scattering. The Rigaku configuration can readily be switched between parallel beam optics for X-ray reflection or Bragg-Brentano for powder X-ray diffraction.


SmartLab X-Ray Reflectometer


The X-ray reflectometry method provides information complementary to that from neutron reflectometry which is available at the neutron reflectometer Platypus at the OPAL reactor.

The system was funded in FY2021/2022 by a RIIP Grant. Access to the SmartLab instrument is possible through the ANSTO Research Portal, and the requirement is that the experiments support Neutron Reflection and other neutron scattering experiments. Access for industry-oriented research is facilitated through the ACNS program. Anticipated research to be conducted using this instrument, covers a wide range of soft and hard matter.


Technical Information


X-ray source  Cu Rotating Anode
Tube voltage   45kV
Operating current   200mA
X-ray flux (typical XRR setup) ~ 109 counts/s
Rmin      < 10-8 
Background ~ 5 count/s (entire area detector)


X-ray reflectometry is used to probe the structure of surfaces, thin-films or buried interfaces as well as processes occurring at surfaces and interfaces such as adsorption, adhesion and interdiffusion. In particular, recent years have seen an explosion of interest in the biosciences as well as the emerging field of nanotechnology.

Applications cover photosensitive films, electrochemical and catalytic interfaces, surfactant layers, polymer coatings and biological membranes. The increasing importance of hybrid materials, the properties of which are determined by their interfaces and the rapid development in the field of thin film technology provides a strong demand for X-ray reflectometry.