Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Adventures at Diamond

Much to my surprise there's been no entry since December. As Head of Department my life has been taken up with budget setting and the like which is not such fun. However, I have escaped for a day or two to do some science back at Diamond.

I'm here with a remarkably relaxed Liane Benning to do some STXM - scanning X-ray microscopy on i08 helped by the beamline scientists Burkhard Kaulich, Tohru Araki and Majid Abyaneh.
A relaxed looking Liane, i08 clearly agrees with her

Avid readers will be familiar with Liane's and my adventures on B22 looking at amorphous calcium carbonate in earthworm secreted carbonate balls. It's much the same here only you get to wear silly clothes when you put a sample on.
Fashion conscious as ever here I am in the room with the STXM
i08 can look at things in far greater detail, i.e. smaller areas, higher resolution, than B22. We hope to identify areas of calcite, areas of amorphous calcium carbonate and then identify differences in the organic molecules present either in or between these areas. This is really a look see - spotting low concentrations of organic molecules on the basis of their C signature against a background of carbonate that containts, the clue is in the name, lots of carbon, is potentially challenging but you have to try these things.

The i08 control screens

So far things look fairly positive. By looking at calcium we've identified areas that appear to be different forms of calcium carbonate, now we are mapping out the carbon to see if there are any differences that match onto these. More later, fingers crossed.
Typical spectrum from one area of carbonate - looks rather amorphous calcium carbonate like

Whereas this spectrum looks far more calcite like

No comments:

Post a Comment