This book presents a physical approach to the diffraction phenomenon and its applications in materials science. An historical background to the discovery of X-ray diffraction is first outlined. Next, Part 1 gives a description of the physical phenomenon of X-ray diffraction on perfect and imperfect crystals. Part 2 then provides a detailed analysis of the instruments used for the characterization of powdered materials or thin films. The description of the processing of measured signals and their results is also covered, as are recent developments relating to quantitative microstructural analysis of powders or epitaxial thin films on the basis of X-ray diffraction. Given the comprehensive coverage offered by this title, anyone involved in the field of X-ray diffraction and its applications will find this of great use.