Sulfur Kβ X-ray emission spectroscopy: comparison with sulfur K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy for speciation of organosulfur compounds
Until recently, sulfur was known as a “spectroscopically silent” element because of a paucity of convenient spectroscopic probes suitable for in situ chemical speciation. In recent years the technique of sulfur K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) has been used extensively in sulfur speciation in a variety of different fields. With an initial focus on reduced forms of organic sulfur, we have explored a complementary X-ray based spectroscopy – sulfur Kβ X-ray emission spectroscopy (XES) – as a potential analytical tool for sulfur speciation in complex samples. We compare and contrast the sensitivity of sulfur Kβ XES with that of sulfur K-edge XAS, and find differing sensitivities for the two techniques. In some cases an approach involving both sulfur K-edge XAS and sulfur Kβ XES may be a powerful combination for deducing sulfur speciation in samples containing complex mixtures.