Microfocus XAS will enable diverse applications, ranging from geochemistry, archeometry, mining, and the study of fluid inclusions in rocks, to the use of speciation as indicators of climate change.
Opportunities with XAS are numerous, and include such diverse topics as bioremediation of heavy metals, tracing the routes of pollutants in the natural environment, and the containment of radioactive waste.
Sub-micron x-ray mapping will enable the study of minute and immensely precious minerals returned from space missions.
Chemistry and materials
Combinatorial chemistry, microreacter studies and electroanalysis, corrosion, ceramics and materials chemistry, microporous solids and heterogeneous catalysis, hydrothermal reactions of industrial materials and nanoscience can be investigated.
The potential of microfocus x-ray spectroscopy is largely unexplored in this area. Sub-micron beams will give fundamental insights into a wide range of important chemical reactions and ultra-dilute systems, enhance the study of reactions at solid interfaces and solid/liquid interfaces, and lead to the development of improved materials through studies of ceramic and composite materials.
Microfocus spectroscopy enables examination of the form in which metal is accumulated in tissue, e.g. iron-containing proteins in brains, which is relevant to the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and heavy metals absorbed by either animals, such as worms, or plants, where understanding the tolerance mechanisms is relevant to pollution remediation.
A new area where microfocus spectroscopy has been making headway is in cultural heritage applications. The non-destructive nature of the technique has made it popular for examining objects of cultural significance, such as examining the stability of sulphur compounds present in ancient wrecks and evaluating the impact of conservation techniques in protecting works of art.