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X-ray Relflectometer
Other instruments and services

X-ray Reflectometer

The X-ray reflectometer is a Panalytical X'Pert Pro instrument; it is capable of measuring reflectivity at air-solid or air-liquid interfaces. 

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.

X-ray reflectometer

The X-ray reflectometer is used for research on thin-films and surfaces, by the Australian scientific and industrial communities.

The sample geometry is horizontal, with (specular reflectivity) taking place in the vertical plane. It is suitable for the study of air-solid and air-liquid interfaces (i.e. horizontal surfaces).

The X-ray reflectometer is equipped with a Cu tube source with parallel beam optics, motorised beam defining slits, an automatic beam attenuator, a "De Wolf" beam knife and a Xe scintillator detector (capable of >106cps). Solid samples will be mounted on a motorised XYZ, Phi sample stage while, a motorised Huber stage will be employed for liquid studies.

Technical Information


X-ray source  Cu Kα sealed tube
Tube voltage   45kV
Operating current   40mA
X-ray flux below critical edge 125,000,000 counts/s
Rmin      ~10-8 
Background  ~1 count/s
Typical angles measured (q):  0 - 5°
Minimum step size:  0.001°
Typical measurement times < 3 hours 
Specular and off-specular measurements      


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.