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Powder Diffraction File: Overview

Note: This guide is no longer updated.

No Longer Updated

Note: This guide is no longer updated.


The Powder Diffraction File (PDF) is a dataset of diffraction patterns and basic properties of elements and compounds. Originally inorganic materials (with minerals as a special subset), it has expanded to include organic compounds. The early data was derived experimentally; much of the later material is calculated. For many years the dataset was issued as 3x5 index cards and the data is still displayed in card format but can be exported for use in databases and spreadsheets.

This guide covers only one aspect of the database: finding an unknown by using the long/strong diffraction line data.

At Lehigh University, the PDF is no longer in the libraries. Please contact Dr. Laura Moyer in the Materials Science and Engineering department to discuss use of the Powder Diffraction File. Her contact information is currently available via the department's Web site:

Tutorials from the International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD)