Towards practical soft X-ray spectromicroscopy of biomaterials
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Scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) is being developed as a new tool to study the surface chemical morphology and biointeractions of candidate biomaterials with emphasis on blood compatible polymers. STXM is a synchrotron based technique which provides quantitative chemical mapping at a spatial resolution of 50 nm. Chemical speciation is provided by the near edge X-ray absorption spectral (NEXAFS) signal. We show that STXM can detect proteins on soft X-ray transparent polymer thin films with monolayer sensitivity. Of great significance is the fact that measurements can be made in situ, i.e. in the presence of an overlayer of the protein solution. The strengths, limitations and future potential of STXM for studies of biomaterials are discussed.
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