X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES) analysis of sorption complexes has the advantages of high sensitivity (10- to 20-fold greater than extended X-ray absorption fine structure [EXAFS] analysis) and relative ease and speed of data collection (because of the short k-space range). It is thus a potentially powerful tool for characterization of environmentally significant surface complexes and precipitates at very low surface coverages. However, quantitative analysis has been limited largely to "fingerprint" comparison with model spectra because of the difficulty of obtaining accurate multiple-scattering amplitudes for small clusters with high confidence. In the present work, calculations of the XANES for 50- to 200-atom clusters of structure from Zn model compounds using the full multiple-scattering code Feff 8.0 accurately replicate experimental spectra and display features characteristic of specific first-neighbor anion coordination geometry and second-neighbor cation geometry and number. Analogous calculations of the XANES for small molecular clusters indicative of precipitation and sorption geometries for aqueous Zn on ferrihydrite, and suggested by EXAFS analysis, are in good agreement with observed spectral trends with sample composition, with Zn-oxygen coordination and with changes in second-neighbor cation coordination as a function of sorption coverage. Empirical analysis of experimental XANES features further verifies the validity of the calculations. The findings agree well with a complete EXAFS analysis previously reported for the same sample set, namely, that octahedrally coordinated aqueous Zn2+ species sorb as a tetrahedral complex on ferrihydrite with varying local geometry depending on sorption density. At significantly higher densities but below those at which Zn hydroxide is expected to precipitate, a mainly octahedral coordinated Zn2+ precipitate is observed. An analysis of the multiple scattering paths contributing to the XANES demonstrates the importance of scattering paths involving the anion sublattice. We also describe the specific advantages of complementary quantitative XANES and EXAFS analysis and estimate limits on the extent of structural information obtainable from XANES analysis. ?? 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Additional publication details
Surface complexation and precipitate geometry for aqueous Zn(II) sorption on ferrihydrite: II. XANES analysis and simulation