May 1, 2021
Journal Article

Direct Visualization of Radiation-Induced Transformations at Alkali Halide-Air Interfaces


Radiation driven reactions at mineral/air interfaces are important to the chemistry of the atmosphere, but experimental constraints leave process understanding incomplete. Using a novel atomic force microscope equipped with an integrated X-ray source, transformation of KBr surfaces to KNO3 by air radiolysis species was followed directly in situ at the nanoscale. Radiolysis initiates dynamic step edge dissolution, surface composition evolution, and ultimately nucleation and heteroepitaxial growth of KNO3 crystallites mediated by surface diffusion at rates controlled by adsorbed water. In contrast to in situ electron microscopy and synchrotron-based imaging techniques where high radiation doses are intrinsic, our approach illustrates the value of decoupling irradiation and the basis of observation

Published: May 1, 2021


Riechers S.L., N.G. Petrik, J.S. Loring, M.E. Bowden, J.B. Cliff, M.K. Murphy, and C.I. Pearce, et al. 2021. "Direct Visualization of Radiation-Induced Transformations at Alkali Halide-Air Interfaces." Communications Chemistry 4. PNNL-SA-155542. doi:10.1038/s42004-021-00486-2