Chemical Imaging Analysis of Environmental Particles Using the Focused Ion Beam/Scanning Electron Microscopy Technique: Microanalysis Insights into Atmospheric Chemistry of Fly Ash
Chen H, VH Grassian, LV Saraf, and A Laskin. 2013. "Chemical Imaging Analysis of Environmental Particles Using the Focused Ion Beam/Scanning Electron Microscopy Technique: Microanalysis Insights into Atmospheric Chemistry of Fly Ash." Analyst 138(2):451-460. doi:10.1039/c2an36318f
Airborne fly ash from coal combustion may represent a source of bioavailable iron (Fe) in the open ocean. However, few studies have been made focusing on Fe speciation and distribution in coal fly ash. In this study, chemical imaging of fly ash has been performed using a dual-beam FIB/SEM (focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope) system for a better understanding of how simulated atmospheric processing modify the morphology, chemical compositions and element distributions of individual particles. A novel approach has been applied for cross-sectioning of fly ash specimen with a FIB in order to explore element distribution within the interior of individual particles. Our results indicate that simulated atmospheric processing causes disintegration of aluminosilicate glass, a dominant material in fly ash particles. Aluminosilicate-phase Fe in the inner core of fly ash particles is more easily mobilized compared with oxide-phase Fe present as surface aggregates on fly ash spheres. Fe release behavior depends strongly on Fe speciation in aerosol particles. The approach for preparation of cross-sectioned specimen described here opens new opportunities for particle microanalysis, particular with respect to inorganic refractive materials like fly ash and mineral dust.