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Concept: Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy


This letter describes the use of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (CNT)-based arrays with estimated 2-nm thick cobalt (Co) nanoparticles deposited inside individual tubes to unravel the possibility of using the unique templates for ultra-high-density low-energy 3-D nano-magneto-electronic devices. The presence of oriented 2-nm thick Co layers within individual nanotubes in the CNT-based 3-D matrix is confirmed through VSM measurements as well as an energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS).

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Carbon, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy


BACKGROUND: Nanotechnology is receiving enormous funding. Very little however is known about the health dangers of this technology so far. Chronic tonsillitis is one of a number of diseases called idiopathic. Among other factors, the tonsils are exposed to suspended particles in inhaled air including nano particles. The objective of this study was to detect and evaluate metallic particles in human tonsil tissue diagnosed with chronic tonsillitis and in amniotic fluid as a comparison. METHODS: Scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) was used for identification of solid particles in a total of 64 samples of routinely analyzed biopsy and cytologic material. RESULTS: Almost all samples were found to contain solid particles of various metals. The most frequent, regardless of diagnosis, were iron, chromium, nickel and aluminium. The size, determined using SEM, varied from around 500 nm to 25 µm. The majority formed aggregates of several micrometers in size but there were a significant number of smaller (sub-micrometer or nano-sized) particles present. The incidence of metallic particles was similar in child and adult tissues. The difference was in composition: the presence of several metals in adults was due to occupational exposure. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of metallic particles in pathologically altered tissues may signal an alternative causation of some diseases. The ethiopathogenic explanation of these diseases associated with the presence of nano-sized particles in the organism has emerged into a new field of pathology, nanopathology.

Concepts: Iron, Metal, Scanning electron microscope, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Tonsil, Tonsillectomy, Tonsillitis, Tonsillolith


Sintered bodies of Zr2WP2O12 (ZWP) and ZrV0.6P1.4O7 (ZVP) were fabricated, and their linear thermal expansion coefficients (TEC) were found to be -2.92 × 10(-6) and 3.27 × 10(-6) °C(-1), respectively, in the range 25-500 °C. In an attempt to fabricate composites with a zero-thermal-expansion property, sintered ZWP/ZVP composites with ZVP/ZWP volume ratios of 0.5/0.5, 0.53/0.47, 0.55/0.45, and 0.6/0.4 were fabricated. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that sintering of ZVP/ZWP composites progressed well compared with that of ZWP. A porous ZVP/ZWP composite with a relative density of ca. 83% was fabricated at a ZVP/ZWP volume ratio of 0.53/0.47. X-ray diffractometry and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry clarified that the ZVP/ZWP composite mainly consisted of ZWP and ZVP grains. Thermomechanical analysis confirmed that the ZVP/ZWP composite exhibited very low thermal expansion with a slight hysteresis with a TEC of -0.29 × 10(-7) °C(-1) in the range 25-500 °C.

Concepts: Electron, Fundamental physics concepts, Density, X-ray crystallography, Scanning electron microscope, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Relative density, Coefficient of thermal expansion


The roots of the “shy plant” Mimosa pudica L. emit a cocktail of small organic and inorganic sulfur compounds into the environment, including SO2, methylsulfinic acid, pyruvic acid, lactic acid, ethanesulfinic acid, propane sulfinic acid, 2-mercaptoaniline, S-propyl propane 1-thiosulfinate, and thioformaldehyde, an elusive and highly unstable compound never before reported to be emitted by a plant. When soil around the roots is dislodged or when seedling roots are touched, an odor is detected. The perceived odor corresponds to emission of higher amounts of propanesulfenic acid, 2-mercaptoaniline, S-propyl propane 1-thiosulfinate, and phenothiazine. The mechanosensitivity response is selective. Whereas touching the roots with soil or human skin resulted in odor detection, agitating the roots with other materials such as glass did not induce a similar response. Light and electron microscopy studies revealed the presence of microscopic sac-like root protuberances. Elemental analysis of these hairs by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy revealed them to contain higher levels of K+ and Cl- compared to the surrounding tissue. Exposing the hairs to stimuli that caused in odor emission resulted in a reduction in the levels of K+ and Cl- in the touched area. The mechanistic implications of the variety of sulfur compounds observed vis-à-vis the pathways for their formation are discussed.

Concepts: Oxygen, Bacteria, Chemical element, Skin, Sulfur, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Sulfur dioxide, Mimosa pudica


The advent of simultaneous energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) data collection has vastly improved the phase separation capabilities for electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) mapping. A major problem remains, however, in distinguishing between multiple cubic phases in a specimen, especially when the compositions of the phases are similar or their particle sizes are small, because the EDS interaction volume is much larger than that of EBSD and the EDS spectra collected during spatial mapping are generally noisy due to time limitations and the need to minimize sample drift. The backscatter electron (BSE) signal is very sensitive to the local composition due to its atomic number (Z) dependence. BSE imaging is investigated as a complimentary tool to EDS to assist phase segmentation and identification in EBSD through examination of specimens of meteorite, Cu dross, and steel oxidation layers. The results demonstrate that the simultaneous acquisition of EBSD patterns, EDS spectra, and the BSE signal can provide new potential for advancing multiphase material characterization in the scanning electron microscope.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Diffraction, Atom, Scientific techniques, Scanning electron microscope, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Electron backscatter diffraction


Cr(VI) is present in the aqueous medium as chromate (CrO(4)(2-)) and bi-chromate (HCrO(4)(-)). Functionalized granular activated carbons (FACs) are used as adsorbents in the treatment of wastewaters containing hexavalent chromium. The FACs are prepared by chemical modifications of granular activated carbons (GACs) using functionalizing agents like HNO(3), HCl and HF. The Brunauer, Emmett and Teller surface areas of FAC-HCl (693.5m(2)/g), FAC-HNO(3) (648.8m(2)/g) and FAC-HF (726.2m(2)/g) are comparable to the GAC (777.7m(2)/g). But, the adsorption capacity of each of the FAC-HNO(3), FAC-HCl and FAC-HF is found to be higher than the GAC. The functional groups play an important role in the adsorption process and pH has practically no role in this specific case. The FACs have hydrophilic protonated external surfaces in particular, along with the functional surface sites capable to make complexes with the CrO(4)(2-) and HCrO(4)(-) present. Surface complex formation is maximized in the order FAC-HNO(3)>FAC-HF>FAC-HCl, in proportion to the total surface acidity. This is also confirmed by the well-known pseudo second-order kinetic model. Physi-sorption equilibrium isotherms are parameterized by using standard Freundlich and Langmuir models. Langmuir fits better. The formation of surface complexes with the functional groups and hexavalent chromium is also revealed in the images of field emission scanning electron micrograph; energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis after adsorption. The intra-particle diffusion is not the only rate-controlling factor. The Boyd’s film diffusion model fits very well with R(2) as high as 98.1% for FAC-HNO(3). This result demonstrates that the functionalization of the GAC by acid treatments would increase the diffusion rate, predominantly with a boundary layer diffusion effect.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Carbon dioxide, Carbon, Adsorption, Scanning electron microscope, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Fourier transform spectroscopy, Activated carbon


When producing asphalt concrete mixture with high amounts of reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP), the mixing temperature plays a significant role in the resulting spatial distribution of the components as well as on the quality of the resulting mixture, in terms of workability during mixing and compaction as well as in service mechanical properties. Asphalt concrete containing 50% RAP was investigated at mixing temperatures of 140, 160 and 180°C, using a multiscale approach. At the microscale, using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy the RAP binder film thickness was visualized and measured. It was shown that at higher mixing temperatures this film thickness was reduced. The reduction in film thickness can be attributed to the loss of volatiles as well as the mixing of RAP binder with virgin binder at higher temperatures. X-ray computer tomography was used to characterize statistically the distribution of the RAP and virgin aggregates geometric features: volume, width and shape anisotropy. In addition using X-ray computer tomography, the packing and spatial distribution of the RAP and virgin aggregates was characterized using the nearest neighbour metric. It was shown that mixing temperature may have a positive effect on the spatial distribution of the aggregates but did not affect the packing. The study shows a tendency for the RAP aggregates to be more likely distributed in clusters at lower mixing temperatures. At higher temperatures, they were more homogeneously distributed. This indicates a higher degree of blending both at microscale (binder film) and macroscale (spatial distribution) between RAP and virgin aggregates as a result of increasing mixing temperatures and the ability to quantify this using various imaging techniques.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Thermodynamics, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Construction aggregate, Thermodynamic equilibrium, Concrete, Tarmac, Asphalt concrete


The purpose of this study was to investigate the corrosion behavior of 10 different high noble gold-based dental alloys, used for prosthodontic retention elements, according to ISO 10271. Samples of 10 high-noble and noble gold-based dental alloys were subjected to: (i) static immersion tests with subsequent analysis of ion release for eight different elements using mass spectrometry; (ii) electrochemical tests, including open-circuit potential and potentiodynamic scans; and (iii) scanning electron microscopy, followed by energy-dispersive X-ray microscopy. The results were analyzed using one-way ANOVA and Sidak multiple-comparisons post-hoc test at a level of significance of α = 0.05. Significant differences were found among the 10 alloys studied for all ions (P < 0.001). The potentiodynamic analysis showed values from -82.5 to 102.8 mV for the open-circuit potential and from 566.7 to 1367.5 mV for the breakdown potential. Both the open-circuit and the breakdown potential varied considerably among these alloys. Scanning electron microscopy analysis confirmed the existence of typically small-diameter corrosion defects, whilst the energy-dispersive X-ray analysis found no significant alteration in the elemental composition of the alloys. The results of this study reveal the variability in the corrosive resistance among the materials used for retention elements in prosthodontics.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Atom, Ion, Analysis of variance, Scanning electron microscope, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, American Dental Association


For the first time the extract of the plant of Salvia hydrangea was used to green synthesis of Pd nanoparticles (NPs) supported on Apricot kernel shell as an environmentally benign support. The Pd NPs/Apricot kernel shell as an effective catalyst was prepared through reduction of Pd(2+) ions using Salvia hydrangea extract as the reducing and capping agent and Pd NPs immobilization on Apricot kernel shell surface in the absence of any stabilizer or surfactant. According to FT-IR analysis, the hydroxyl groups of phenolics in Salvia hydrangea extract as bioreductant agents are directly responsible for the reduction of Pd(2+) ions and formation of Pd NPs. The as-prepared catalyst was characterized by Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and UV-Vis spectroscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), Elemental mapping, X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) and transmittance electron microscopy (TEM). The synthesized catalyst was used in the reduction of 4-nitrophenol (4-NP), Methyl Orange (MO), Methylene Blue (MB), Rhodamine B (RhB), and Congo Red (CR) at room temperature. The Pd NPs/Apricot kernel shell showed excellent catalytic activity in the reduction of these organic dyes. In addition, it was found that Pd NPs/Apricot kernel shell can be recovered and reused several times without significant loss of catalytic activity.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, Electron microscope, Enzyme, Hydrogen, Scientific techniques, Scanning electron microscope, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy


The contamination of edible leafy vegetables by atmospheric heavy metal-bearing particles is a major issue in environmental toxicology. In this study, the uptake of lead by cladodes of Opuntia ficus-indica (Ofi), traditionally used in Mexican cuisine and in livestock fodder, is investigated after a 4-months exposure of either cladodes or roots to synthetic Pb-fluorapatite particles. Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) for the quantitative analysis of Pb levels, Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDX) for the examination of the cladode surface and fate of particles, and Micro-X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) measurements for elemental mapping of Pb in cladodes, were used. The results evidence that foliar contamination may be a major pathway for the transfer of Pb within Ofi cladodes. The stomata, areoles, and cuticle of cladode surface, play an obvious role in the retention and the incorporation of lead-bearing apatite, thus revealing the hazard of eating contaminated cladodes. The possibility of using series of successive cladodes for biomonitoring the atmospheric pollution in arid and semi-arid regions is also rapidly discussed.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, Analytical chemistry, Scientific techniques, Opuntia, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, Leaf, Cladophyll