Coming Soon: the BRIMSTONE, a tender x-ray emission spectrometer for sulfur, phosphorus and more.

Laboratory-based XAFS and XES generates the highest scientific and technical potential when used to open the field to new applications that are incompatible with synchrotron light source priorities and access models.  Our users are already finding many such applications for studies transition metal compounds for battery research, catalysis, and even artwork analysis.  However, we’ve received many inquiries about whether the energy range for the easyXAFS/XES systems can be extended to lower energies, especially for studies of sulfur- and phosphorus-rich compounds and materials.

For those reasons, a few months ago easyXAFS licensed a new technology for tender x-ray XES from the University of Washington.  As described in a recent manuscript posted on arXiv, a truly desktop-sized spectrometer now provides XES performance comparable to prior work at insertion-device beamlines on sulfur and phosphorus XES.This includes both analytical applications with the strong Kα emission lines and also more fundamental inquiries about electronic structure using the valence-to-core region.  Because of the simplicity of the Kα analysis, those authors propose that these instruments are a new platform for analytical chemistry of sulfur and phosphorus rich materials, giving an especially important bulk-sensitive complement to XPS and bypassing the well-known difficulties with NMR of sulfur.  We at easyXAFS agree.  We think that this technology can spawn a new niche in analytical chemistry, giving an alternative to XPS and NMR, for characterization of sulfur or phosphorus in catalysts, battery materials, fossil fuels, soils, fertilizers, and biological tissue, to name a few examples.

The BRIMSTONE product line is based on this new, compact, approach to ultra-high resolution wavelength-dispersive spectroscopy.  We’ll soon be offering a ‘base’ analytical BRIMSTONE and also the BRIMSTONE-GBX, which integrates the spectrometer with a research-grade glovebox for air-sensitive materials.  In all cases, the BRIMSTONE will use only a highly reliable, conventional x-ray tube that requires no special utilities.  The total power consumption for BRIMSTONE is under 100 W, so even field-study applications with synchrotron-level performance are possible.

We’re excited to start discussions with our customers about how to best match instrument design and capabilities with their special needs.  How can desktop, or in-glovebox, XES from 2 – 5 keV accelerate your fundamental research or industrial science programs?

Rendering of the prototype instrument. The small chamber is run under vacuum or back-filled with 1 atm helium.

A comparison of the high-resolution BRIMSTONE data to conventional WD-XRF (simulated using typical quoted energy resolution).

xafs2015wpUserComing Soon: the BRIMSTONE, a tender x-ray emission spectrometer for sulfur, phosphorus and more.