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Hard X-ray micro(spectro)scopy: A powerful tool for the geomicrobiologists


  • The submitted manuscript has been created by UChicago Argonne, LLC, Operator of Argonne National Laboratory (‘Argonne’). Argonne, a US Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory, is operated under contract no. DE-AC02-06CH11357. The US Government retains for itself, and others acting on its behalf, a paid-up nonexclusive, irrevocable worldwide license in said article to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies to the public, and perform publicly and display publicly, by or on behalf of the Government.

Corresponding author: K. M. Kemner. Tel.: 630-252-1163; fax: 630-252-9793; e-mail:


During the past few decades, the use of electron microscopy approaches – many developed by Terry Beveridge – to probe the physiology of microorganisms has become a mainstay in fields including microbiology, human health, and geomicrobiology. Recent developments of third-generation synchrotron X-ray sources and X-ray-based microscopy approaches for studying microbial systems have proved their utility as complements to the very powerful approaches regularly employed by electron microscopists. In addition, in recent geomicrobiological studies, researchers have begun to take advantage of the strengths of each technique by using the superior spatial resolution of the electron microscope (relative to the X-ray microscope) and the superior elemental sensitivity of the X-ray microscope (relative to the electron microscope), along with the ability of the X-ray microscope to spatially probe the chemical speciation of elements. The benefits of integrating these two nanoprobes for investigating the same microenvironments within a geomicrobial system are far superior to those of independent studies separately employing each probe.