Elemental analysis using differential absorption techniques

H. Rarback*, F. Cinotti, C. Jacobsen, J. M. Kenney, J. Kirz, R. Rosser

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


X-ray differential absorption microanalysis is presented as a technique for trace element analysis of hydrated biological specimens of about 0.1-5 μm thickness. For the study of the light elements (Z≲20), the absorption technique minimizes the radiation dose and, thus, damage to such specimens when compared with X-ray fluorescence. A Scanning Transmission X-ray Microscope (SXTM) is described, which has been used to map the concentration of calcium in bone with better than 300 nm spatial resolution and a sensitivity to 5% calcium by weight. Future plans are briefly discussed that offer the hope of achieving 0.1% trace element sensitivity and 75 nm spatial resolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Trace Element Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 1987


  • X-ray absorption microanalysis
  • X-ray microscopy
  • biological microanalysis
  • bone
  • calcium distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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