X-ray Absorption Spectroscopic Investigation of Sulfur Sites in Coal: Organic Sulfur Identification

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Science  05 Oct 1984:
Vol. 226, Issue 4670, pp. 48-50
DOI: 10.1126/science.226.4670.48


High-resolution x-ray absorption spectroscopy was used to probe the chemical and structural environments of sulfur in coal. Measurement of the sulfur Kedge spectra down to 2472.0 electron volts under nonvacuum conditions was made possible in an all-helium path, and a Stern-Heald type ion chamber was used for fluorescence detection. For a number of selected sulfur-containing minerals and organic model compounds, results show that near-edge spectral features are diagnostic for sulfur in specific organic moieties such as thiols, disulfides, and various heterocyclics, as well as in mineral sulfide and sulfate phases. The spectrum of a model system containing 35 percent iron pyrite and 65 percent benzothiophene was found to match the observed spectral features of a bituminous coal from the eastern United States.