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A new technique combining in situ X-ray diffraction using synchrotron radiation and infrared thermal imaging is reported. The technique enables the application, generation and measurement of significant thermal gradients, and furthermore allows the direct spatial correlation of thermal and crystallographic measurements. The design and implementation of a novel furnace enabling the simultaneous thermal and X-ray measurements is described. The technique is expected to have wide applicability in material science and engineering; here it has been applied to the study of solid oxide fuel cells at high temperature.