A pole figure (PF) measurement is an X-ray diffraction (XRD) technique employed for the observation of textures in polycrystalline materials in the form of bulk ceramics, metal complex, thin films, etc, or the analysis of the orientation or domain configuration of epitaxial thin films. A comprehensive explanation of pole figures can be found in the technical article “X-ray thin film measurement techniques” in the Rigaku Journal. However, we often receive questions or requests for technical advice about PF measurements, especially for thin film samples. Users may wonder which of three PF measurement methods should be employed using a SmartLab system equipped with an in-plane axis and a 2D detector. This is the reason for this lecture note. Features of the three possible PF measurements will be reviewed to guide SmartLab users, studying thin film samples. Since a pole figure measurement using an in-plane axis is such a unique and useful technique, it merits a discussion of updated applications using this technique for modern functional materials.
Katsuhiko Inaba and Shintaro Kobayashi