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Mandate and history

The Commission on Powder Diffraction (CPD) was formed in 1987 and had its first meeting as a satellite to the main IUCr congress in Perth, Australia in that year.

One of the most fundamental arguments for the formation of the commission was the unique position of international research using powder diffraction as its main technique. In almost all cases in the field of crystallography there is considerably more activity in published material from academic institutions than from industry. This position is exactly reversed in the field of powder diffraction and it is one of the major purposes of the commission to provide an information link between the very large industrial community and the more academic, less applied aspects of the subject. The commission attempts to do this through the IUCr by endorsing large and small meetings , by encouraging collaboration between groups working in similar fields, by enhancing mobility of students to attend CPD events and by undertaking specific projects designed to improve standards and research practices in powder diffraction. The CPD publishes a twice yearly newsletter to keep its members up-to-date with events, meetings and new trends in powder diffraction.

The members of the commission can serve up to three terms of 3 years and may be elected for a further period as chair of the commission. They are not chosen as representatives of a country but are elected to represent some area of expertise in powder diffraction. However the CPD has always been glad that it has been able to find people willing to carry out its activities with a very wide and very representative geographic spread. A particular aim of the CPD is to encourage teaching of powder diffraction in developing counties and it has acheived a great deal in that respect.

The CPD has a mandate from the IUCr to collaborate with other commissions this is especially important given the current increase in the use of new crystallographic techniques.

The CPD has a very close relationship with the International Centre for Diffraction Data ICDD who maintain the data base used world wide for chemical identification of materials, and the recently formed International X-ray Analysis Society (IXAS) IXAS, who will cover many aspects of applied research in X-ray spectroscopies, and will collect conference proceedings on the web site. The CPD mailing list has grown to well over 1200 in a few years but the ICDD list carries over 15,000 names illustrating the huge number of scientists engaged in powder diffraction who would not in normal circumstances describe themselves as crystallographers.

It is the job of the CPD to draw together these groups, to encourage co-operation and collaboration, to accelerate the already phenomenal growth of the subject and to make new information available to all.

The membership of the Commission since its formation in 1987 to the present day can be found here