, Volume 383, Issue 1, pp 41-47
Date: 14 Jul 2005

Soft X-ray scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) of actinide particles

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A descriptive account is given of our most recent research on the actinide dioxides with the Advanced Light Source Molecular Environmental Science (ALS-MES) Beamline 11.0.2 soft X-ray scanning transmission X-ray microscope (STXM) at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). The ALS-MES STXM permits near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) and imaging with 30-nm spatial resolution. The first STXM spectromicroscopy NEXAFS spectra at the actinide 4d5/2 edges of the imaged transuranic particles, NpO2 and PuO2, have been obtained. Radiation damage induced by the STXM was observed in the investigation of a mixed oxidation state particle (Np(V,VI)) and was minimized during collection of the actual spectra at the 4d5/2 edge of the Np(V,VI) solid. A plutonium elemental map was obtained from an irregular PuO2 particle with the dimensions of 650 × 650 nm. The Pu 4d5/2 NEXAFS spectra were collected at several different locations from the PuO2 particle and were identical. A representative oxygen K-edge spectrum from UO2 was collected and resembles the oxygen K-edge from the bulk material. The unique and current performance of the ALS-MES STXM at extremely low energies (ca. 100 eV) that may permit the successful measurement of the actinide 5d edge is documented. Finally, the potential of STXM as a tool for actinide investigations is briefly discussed.