New X-ray Microscopy Method Sheds Light on Nanoscale Reactions

November 30, 2006
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Argonne, IL (Nov. 9)-Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory?s Chemistry Division and Xradia have developed a novel X-ray microscopy technique that allows molecular observations of the reactivity of solid surfaces at the nanometer scale, including interfacial reactions such as ion adsorption and catalytic reactions.

Argonne, IL (Nov. 9)-Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory’s Chemistry Division (www.anl.gov) and Xradia (Concord, CA, www.xradia.com) have developed a novel X-ray microscopy technique that allows molecular observations of the reactivity of solid surfaces at the nanometer scale, including interfacial reactions such as ion adsorption and catalytic reactions.

Combining X-ray reflection and high-resolution microscopy, the non-invasive method also permits scientists to observe sub-nanometer-sized interfacial features in real time and image the topography of a solid surface without the need for probe tips near the surface.

The technique implements the concepts of phase contrast microscopy, which allows colorless specimens or finely detailed organisms to appear more clearly at high magnifications by retarding the phase of highly reflective light from objects, such as granules, with a high refractive index. This correction is not performed with commonly used microscopy methods such as bright-field microscopy.

Funding for the research was provided by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences, and results were published in Nature Physics (2006).