Noninvasive Synchrotron-Based X-ray Raman Scattering Discriminates Carbonaceous Compounds in Ancient and Historical Materials

Pierre Gueriau, Jean Pascal Rueff, Sylvain Bernard, Josiane A. Kaddissy, Sarah Goler, Christoph J. Sahle, Dimosthenis Sokaras, Roy A. Wogelius, Phillip L. Manning, Uwe Bergmann, Loïc Bertrand

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Carbon compounds are ubiquitous and occur in a diversity of chemical forms in many systems including ancient and historic materials ranging from cultural heritage to paleontology. Determining their speciation cannot only provide unique information on their origin but may also elucidate degradation processes. Synchrotron-based X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy at the carbon K-edge (280-350 eV) is a very powerful method to probe carbon speciation. However, the short penetration depth of soft X-rays imposes stringent constraints on sample type, preparation, and analytical environment. A hard X-ray probe such as X-ray Raman scattering (XRS) can overcome many of these difficulties. Here we report the use of XRS at ∼6 keV incident energy to collect carbon K-edge XANES data and probe the speciation of organic carbon in several specimens relevant to cultural heritage and natural history. This methodology enables the measurement to be done in a nondestructive way, in air, and provides information that is not compromised by surface contamination by ensuring that the dominant signal contribution is from the bulk of the probed material. Using the backscattering geometry at large photon momentum transfer maximizes the XRS signal at the given X-ray energy and enhances nondipole contributions compared to conventional XANES, thereby augmenting the speciation sensitivity. The capabilities and limitations of the technique are discussed. We show that despite its small cross section, for a range of systems the XRS method can provide satisfactory signals at realistic experimental conditions. XRS constitutes a powerful complement to FT-IR, Raman, and conventional XANES spectroscopy, overcoming some of the limitations of these techniques. (Graph Presented).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10819-10826
    Number of pages8
    JournalAnalytical Chemistry
    Issue number20
    Early online date13 Sept 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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