In Situ X-ray Absorption Study of Surface Complexes: Selenium Oxyanions on α-FeOOH

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  06 Nov 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4828, pp. 783-786
DOI: 10.1126/science.238.4828.783


A novel application of x-ray absorption spectroscopy has provided structural information for ions sorbed at oxide-water interfaces. As an example, in situ extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) measurements of adsorbed selenate and selenite ions at ah α-FeOOH(goethite)—water interface have been performed; these measurements show that selenate forms a weakly bonded, outer-sphere complex and that selenite forms a strongly bonded, inner-sphere complex. The selenite ion is bonded directly to the goethite surface in a bidentate fashion with two iron atoms 3.38 angstroms from the selenium atom. Adsorbed selenate has no iron atom in the second coordination shell of selenium, which indicates retention of its hydration sphere upon sorption. This method provides direct structural information for adsorbed species at solid-liquid interfaces.