What is it about?

In a beamline experiment time is limited, and the sample is usually held within a container. Often there is the temptation to skip measurement time on the "boring" empty container and instead focus time on the "interesting" sample-in-container measurement. The desired signal is, however, obtained only after the intensity measured for the empty contained is subtracted from the intensity measured for the sample in its container. In consequence, the statistical error on the desired signal is often compromised.

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Why is it important?

This paper gives a simple method for optimising the relative counting times for the sample-in-container and empty container parts of a fixed-duration scattering experiment in order to minimise the statistical error on the container-corrected intensity.


The guidance should help experimentalists to get the most from their X-ray and neutron scattering experiments performed at central facilities.

Professor Philip S Salmon
University of Bath

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Optimizing the counting times for sample-in-container scattering experiments, Journal of Applied Crystallography, November 2016, International Union of Crystallography,
DOI: 10.1107/s160057671601493x.
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