Standard Article

XAFS Spectroscopy

X-Ray Techniques

  1. Steve Heald

Published Online: 18 MAY 2012

DOI: 10.1002/0471266965.com072.pub2

Characterization of Materials

Characterization of Materials

How to Cite

Heald, S. 2012. XAFS Spectroscopy. Characterization of Materials. 1–15.

Author Information

  1. Argonne National Laboratory, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne, IL, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAY 2012


The x-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) that is present near x-ray absorption edges contains detailed information about the local structure and bonding of the absorbing atoms. With the advent of intense tunable sources of x-rays using synchrotron radiation facilities, the application of x-ray absorption spectroscopy has become widespread and routine. The XAFS is a local probe sensitive to the location and type of atoms surrounding the absorbing atom. As a local probe, it can be applied to many materials where diffraction-based techniques would be impractical such as resolving the structure near highly dilute components and determining the local structure of atoms in nanoparticles, liquids, metalloproteins in solution, amorphous solids, and poorly crystalline materials. In addition to the direct structural information, the absorption edge position and shape can be used to determine the site symmetry and valence of the absorbing atoms. This chapter describes the physical principles that result in the fine structure, basic experimental techniques, and basic principles for the extraction of the information present in the spectra. It also touches on some of the unique aspects of performing measurements at a synchrotron radiation facility.


  • XAFS;
  • XANES;
  • EXAFS;
  • XAS;
  • x-ray absorption;
  • x-ray spectroscopy