X-ray spectromicroscopy in soil and environmental sciences

J. Thieme, J. Sedlmair, S. C. Gleber, J. Prietzel, J. Coates, K. Eusterhues, G. Abbt-Braun, M. Salome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


X-ray microscopy is capable of imaging particles in the nanometer size range directly with sub-micrometer spatial resolution and can be combined with high spectral resolution for spectromicroscopy studies. Two types of microscopes are common in X-ray microscopy: the transmission X-ray microscope and the scanning transmission X-ray microscope; their set-ups are explained in this paper. While the former takes high-resolution images from an object with exposure times of seconds or faster, the latter is very well suited as an analytical instrument for spectromicroscopy. The morphology of clusters or particles from soil and sediment samples has been visualized using a transmission X-ray microscope. Images are shown from a cryo-tomography experiment based on X-ray microscopy images to obtain information about the three-dimensional structure of clusters of humic substances. The analysis of a stack of images taken with a scanning transmission X-ray microscope to combine morphology and chemistry within a soil sample is shown. X-ray fluorescence is a method ideally applicable to the study of elemental distributions and binding states of elements even on a trace level using X-ray energies above 1 keV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Synchrotron Radiation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Colloids
  • Environmental sciences
  • Nanoparticles
  • Spectromicroscopy
  • X-ray microscopy


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