Bittencourt, C.; Krueger, P.; Lagos, M.J.; Ke, X.; Van Tendeloo, G.; Ewels, C.; Umek, P.; Guttmann, P.: Towards atomic resolution in sodium titanate nanotubes using near-edge X-ray-absorption fine-structure spectromicroscopy combined with multichannel multiple-scattering calculations. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology 3 (2012), p. 789-797
Recent advances in near-edge X-ray-absorption fine-structure spectroscopy coupled with transmission X-ray microscopy (NEXAFS–TXM) allow large-area mapping investigations of individual nano-objects with spectral resolution up to E/ΔE = 10000 and spatial resolution approaching 10 nm. While the state-of-the-art spatial resolution of X-ray microscopy is limited by nanostructuring process constrains of the objective zone plate, we show here that it is possible to overcome this through close coupling with high-level theoretical modelling. Taking the example of isolated bundles of hydrothermally prepared sodium titanate nanotubes ((Na,H)TiNTs) we are able to unravel the complex nanoscale structure from the NEXAFS–TXM data using multichannel multiplescattering calculations, to the extent of being able to associate specific spectral features in the O K-edge and Ti L-edge with oxygen atoms in distinct sites within the lattice. These can even be distinguished from the contribution of different hydroxyl groups to the electronic structure of the (Na,H)TiNTs.