I am having some trouble with qualitative phase identification using x-ray diffraction (XRD). Here follows some basic information about the experiment:
Instrument: PANalytical X'Pert$^3$ Powder
Software: PANalytical Highscore Plus
Database: PAN ICSD
Sample: respirable fraction aerosol samples from ferro- and silica manganese plants.
The goal: which manganese phases are present, and which dominate?
Grasping the software is not what I am concerned about. I lack an analytical strategy. I know how to determine the background, but I am not sure when the background is appropriately determined. Too high? Too low? Does this strongly affect the phase identification?
Then I do a peak search, and 50 peaks are detected. Should I focus just on the major peaks? Are the minor ones important too? When I do a search-match analysis, I get 400 suggested phases, where 20 phases share the highest score. Then another 20 phases share the highest score minus 1. I lack criteria needed to accept a phase as present, and discard other phases as not present.
I am not able to find good literature on this subject. I did find an article called "Hints on Phase Identification Using Powder X-ray Diffraction", which certainly raised a lot of potential problems and procedures, but which did not necessarily solve these problems or explain why the procedures would help. Does anyone know of any books or other literature that could help me?
My problem boils down to lack of "strategy" or "analytical procedure", and maybe someone here could offer some advice. I hope my question is "answerable", and not too broad; I know there is a "specific-and-precise-question" policy in here.