X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy



  • 2015
  • X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy

    A personal account of a visit to Diamond Light Source to further study of X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy by Robert Hooley – Cohort 1

    Above: Research team from Infineum, Leeds & Manchester universities, and Diamond working on the Core EXAFS beamline (B18) at Diamond, the UK’s national synchrotron science facility. L/R; Steve Parry, Senior Support Scientist (Diamond), Pete Dowding, ( Infineum ), Sin-Yuen Chang ( Manchester University ) and Anna Kroner, Senior Industrial Liaison Scientist – X-Ray Spectroscopy ( Diamond) Back row; Sven Schroeder, (Leeds University ), Colin Willis ( Infineum ), Andy Price ( Infineum ), Rob Hooley and Samuel Booth.

    As part of my PEME5970 module work with Prof. Sven Schroeder, I was given the opportunity to run experiments at Diamond Light Source with the aim of taking the module work on for publication. Once at Diamond I met up with some members of Sven’s group and several scientists from Infineum, then after doing the mandatory health and safety inductions away we go.

    We were working on B-18, one of the spectroscopy beamlines, looking at X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy of calcium atoms in calcium carbonate. This tied in to the work I had done in the course of PEME5970, where we were attempting to model the XAS of calcium carbonate and assign an explanation to the features present in the spectra. By correlating the models with the experimental spectra, it is possible to probe the influence of bonding on the electronic structure, and thus determine the polymorphs present.

    Doing beamtime experiments can be an interesting experience, especially when running on 3 hours sleep and caffeine! By the end of the session, I was thoroughly exhausted but came away with stacks of data and a huge sense of satisfaction.

    Now we just need to write it up for publication…


    The hall containing the storage ring and experimental hutches at Diamond, at 561m in circumference, the x-rays travel around the ring about 500,000 times per second.

    Wandering around the hall in the middle of the night is certainly character-building, more flickering lights and eerie sounds than a horror film set.


    The XAS detector in the experimental hutch, measures the total number of electrons that leave the sample as a function of incident X-Ray energy.

    The Diamond press release on the subject of the visit can be found here.

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