Multimodal x-ray and electron microscopy of the Allende meteorite

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Science Advances  20 Sep 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 9, eaax3009
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax3009


Multimodal microscopy that combines complementary nanoscale imaging techniques is critical for extracting comprehensive chemical, structural, and functional information, particularly for heterogeneous samples. X-ray microscopy can achieve high-resolution imaging of bulk materials with chemical, magnetic, electronic, and bond orientation contrast, while electron microscopy provides atomic-scale spatial resolution with quantitative elemental composition. Here, we combine x-ray ptychography and scanning transmission x-ray spectromicroscopy with three-dimensional energy-dispersive spectroscopy and electron tomography to perform structural and chemical mapping of an Allende meteorite particle with 15-nm spatial resolution. We use textural and quantitative elemental information to infer the mineral composition and discuss potential processes that occurred before or after accretion. We anticipate that correlative x-ray and electron microscopy overcome the limitations of individual imaging modalities and open up a route to future multiscale nondestructive microscopies of complex functional materials and biological systems.

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