X-ray absorption contrast images of binary chemical reactions

D Walker, OT Lord, MJ Walter, SM Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Low-divergence synchrotron-sourced X-rays enable a radiographic imaging scheme for full characterization of binary chemical reactions and characterization by type of more complex reactions, in situ, in diamond anvil cells (DAC). Spatially resolved reactants are induced to react by laser heating of their interface. The spatially intermediate products are observed through X-ray absorption contrast. Limits to the technique include the ability to maintain controlled experiment geometry during compression and the ability to resolve chemical differences between reactants and products by X-ray absorption. The ability to make in situ observations at experimental pressure and temperature obviates the problem with quenching techniques for capturing liquid compositions in experiments with dimensions smaller than the diffusion length during quenching time. Partially molten Fe-alloy systems, of poor quenchability, are examined at DAC pressures and temperatures for relevance to Earth's core constitution and evolution. Determinations of eutectic melting in Fe–FeS match known results. Of the probable light elements that may alloy with Fe in the Earth's liquid outer core, Fe–FeS experiments show only modest quenching problems, but C and Si alloy experiments are highly vulnerable to quenching artifacts. The observed reactivity of FeS, Fe3C, FeSi, and FeO(OH) with Fe in DAC makes the observed non-reactivity between Fe and FeO more significant, reducing the probability that oxygen alone is the major alloy in Earth's molten outer core.
Translated title of the contributionX-ray absorption contrast images of binary chemical reactions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211 - 220
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Geology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • X-ray imaging
  • Absorption contrast
  • Eutectic composition
  • Diamond anvil cells


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