XAFS for Everyone

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CRC Press, May 20, 2013 - Science - 457 pages

XAFS for Everyone provides a practical, thorough guide to x-ray absorption fine-structure (XAFS) spectroscopy for both novices and seasoned practitioners from a range of disciplines. The text is enhanced with more than 200 figures as well as cartoon characters who offer informative commentary on the different approaches used in XAFS spectroscopy.

The book covers sample preparation, data reduction, tips and tricks for data collection, fingerprinting, linear combination analysis, principal component analysis, and modeling using theoretical standards. It describes both near-edge (XANES) and extended (EXAFS) applications in detail. Examples throughout the text are drawn from diverse areas, including materials science, environmental science, structural biology, catalysis, nanoscience, chemistry, art, and archaeology. In addition, five case studies from the literature demonstrate the use of XAFS principles and analysis in practice. The text includes derivations and sample calculations to foster a deeper comprehension of the results.

Whether you are encountering this technique for the first time or looking to hone your craft, this innovative and engaging book gives you insight on implementing XAFS spectroscopy and interpreting XAFS experiments and results. It helps you understand real-world trade-offs and the reasons behind common rules of thumb.


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I am a beamline scientist working on a soft X-ray beamline previously I have worked on a hard X-ray beamline using XAFS. This is a fantastic book for experienced researchers, novices to the technique and beamline scientists. I often find myself helping users to understand the intricacies of NEXAFS/XANES and trying to point out all the pitfalls and behaviours that cause data to be unreliable. Often my explanations eventually turn into me telling the user the rule of thumb metric that gets them through the experiment but I feel that they often do not understand the more detailed physical reasoning behind the rule of thumb. Or worse where the rule of thumb breaks down. This book is the first book I have seen that takes a full rigorous (but not excessively mathematical) approach but then also explains in a practical way where are the important experimental tricks or sample preparation and where to worry and where not to worry. This book, if you read it, a lot of what you are told by more experienced people will become much less the folklore of the wise experienced user and something that flows from a scientific base. Some of you will also find out that some of what the more experienced users tell you will be bad practice that they have picked up during previous "bad" experiences that they have rationalised and not understood properly.
Please if you are a new XAFS user or even a soft X-ray NEXAFS/XANES user try and get a hold of this book and read it before coming to the synchrotron. It will really improve your productivity.
I particularly like the multiple voice discussions in the boxes amplifying specific questions. I often have similar voices in my head when discussing similar issues. I am sure that this causes problems for people when I start describing things in this way. I find it very clear to have all the voices, for a novice user who is often overwhelmed with information the practical, is it important voice, is the one to listen to first. Later go back and read the other voices when you are less stressed with using the beamtime, its amazing how much clearer things are when read after doing something on the 2nd 3rd or 4th reading.
I do not write book reviews but in this case this book will help me to do a better job and if you are using XAFS it will definitely help you.

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About the author (2013)

Scott Calvin is the chair of the Division of Natural Science and Mathematics at Sarah Lawrence College, where he teaches innovative courses, including crazy ideas in physics, rocket science, and steampunk physics. He is also a member of the principal research team for beamline X-11B at the National Synchrotron Light Source. Since 1998, he has been using XAFS to study systems as diverse as solar cells, magnetic nanoparticles, soil samples, battery cathodes, analogues to atmospheric dust particles, and pigments used in 18th century painting. He received a PhD in physics from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

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