For the nondestructive characterization of HA deposited onto dental implants by plasma spraying, the incident beam path of a θ: 2θ X-ray powder diffractometer has been modified with parallel beam optics. The diffractometer is equipped with a dedicated sample stage to accommodate single cylindrical specimens with a diameter of 3.5mm to 4mm. The peak resolution of the instrument equals that of a standard Bragg-Brentano diffractometer. Nondestructive probing of implants with smooth and threaded surfaces will identify the phases present and reveal the presence of grain texture. From observations of noncrystalline scatter and line broadening it appears that the 2-phase concept (matrix = amorphous fraction + crystalline fraction) for crystallinity is inadequate. Both, “perfect” crystalline and “imperfect” crystalline HA are contained in the crystalline fraction of a plasma sprayed HA coating.
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