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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Soft X-ray spectroscopy of nanoparticles by velocity map imaging

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Velocity map imaging (VMI), a technique traditionally used to study chemical dynamics in the gas phase, is applied here to study X-ray photoemission from aerosol nanoparticles. Soft X-rays from the Advanced Light Source synchrotron, probe a beam of nanoparticles, and the resulting photoelectrons are velocity mapped to obtain their kinetic energy distributions. A new design of the VMI spectrometer is described. The spectrometer is benchmarked by measuring vacuum ultraviolet photoemission from gas phase xenon and squalene nanoparticles followed by measurements using soft X-rays. It is demonstrated that the photoelectron distribution from X-ray irradiated squalene nanoparticles is dominated by secondary electrons. By scanning the photon energies and measuring the intensities of these secondary electrons, a near edge X-ray absorption fine structure (NEXAFS) spectrum is obtained. The NEXAFS technique is used to obtain spectra of aqueous nanoparticles at the oxygen K edge. By varying the position of the aqueous nanoparticle beam relative to the incident X-ray beam, evidence is presented such that the VMI technique allows for NEXAFS spectroscopy of water in different physical states. Finally, we discuss the possibility of applying VMI methods to probe liquids and solids via X-ray spectroscopy.

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