Chemical and Morphological Inhomogeneity of Aluminum Metal and Oxides from Soft X-ray Spectromicroscopy. Academic Article uri icon


  • Oxygen and aluminum K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), imaging from a scanning transmission X-ray microscope (STXM), and first-principles calculations were used to probe the composition and morphology of bulk aluminum metal, - and -Al2O3, and several types of aluminum nanoparticles. The imaging results agreed with earlier transmission electron microscopy studies that showed a 2 to 5 nm thick layer of Al2O3 on all the Al surfaces. Spectral interpretations were guided by examination of the calculated transition energies, which agreed well with the spectroscopic measurements. Features observed in the experimental O and Al K-edge XAS were used to determine the chemical structure and phase of the Al2O3 on the aluminum surfaces. For unprotected 18 and 100 nm Al nanoparticles, this analysis revealed an oxide layer that was similar to -Al2O3 and comprised of both tetrahedral and octahedral Al coordination sites. For oleic acid-protected Al nanoparticles, only tetrahedral Al oxide coordination sites were observed. The results were correlated to trends in the reactivity of the different materials, which suggests that the structures of different Al2O3 layers have an important role in the accessibility of the underlying Al metal toward further oxidation. Combined, the Al K-edge XAS and STXM results provided detailed chemical information that was not obtained from powder X-ray diffraction or imaging from a transmission electron microscope.

published proceedings

  • Inorg Chem

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Altman, A. B., Pemmaraju, C. D., Alayoglu, S., Arnold, J., Booth, C. H., Braun, A., ... Tyliszczak, T.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Altman, Alison B||Pemmaraju, C Das||Alayoglu, Selim||Arnold, John||Booth, Corwin H||Braun, Augustin||Bunker, Christopher E||Herve, Alexandre||Minasian, Stefan G||Prendergast, David||Shuh, David K||Tyliszczak, Tolek

publication date

  • May 2017