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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Applications of X-ray Absorption Fine Structure Spectroscopy to Soils


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 58 No. 6, p. 1583-1595
    Received: Sept 16, 1993

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. S. E. Fendorf,
  2. D. L. Sparks ,
  3. G. M. Lamble and
  4. M. J. Kelley
  1. Division of Soil Science, Univ. of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844
    Dep. of Plant and Soil Sciences, Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19717-1303
    Brookhaven National Lab., Upton, NY 11973
    E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., P.O. box 80304, Wilmington, DE 19880-0304



Determining the local chemical environment of a species is often a necessity for evaluating its reactivity in the environment. However, obtaining direct molecular-level information is often problematic and may only be possible with severely invasive techniques. We discuss the physical and chemical aspects of x-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (XAFS) and its application in soils. This technique can determine the local chemical and structural surroundings of a particular elemental species in soil and water or other natural systems, without the need to subject the sample to a foreign atmosphere. Electronic information and a fingerprint of the x-ray absorbing element's local environment is provided with XAFS and can be used to determine the speciation of an element in media like soils. Precise structural information (bond distances within 0.02 Å) can also be ascertained with this method, although this precision is often difficult to obtain in heterogeneous materials. Nevertheless, XAFS is a method that can contribute significantly to our knowledge of soils and soil reactions.

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