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Application of Conventional and Microbeam Synchrotron Radiation X-Ray Fluorescence and Absorption for the Characterization of Human Nails

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The synchrotron radiation based spectroscopies X-ray fluorescence and X-ray absorption fine structure are used to detect illness-related changes in the elemental distribution and bonding environment of metals in human nails. The effective atomic number of a collection of nails is determined using two methods, the X-ray transmittance and the scattering method, and is found equal to 7.5 ± 0.5. X-ray fluorescence maps of the elemental distributions, recorded with a lateral resolution of 5 m, reveal that S, Ca and Zn are distributed homogeneously while Fe tends to cluster. In the Fe-rich clusters, which have a diameter in the range 15–30 m, the Fe concentration is 10 times higher than in the matrix. The Zn K edge X-ray Absorption Fine Structure spectra reveal that Zn, in the nails from healthy donors and patients suffering from lung diseases, is four-fold coordinated with N and S and the Zn–N and Zn–S distances are equal to 2.03 Å and 2.25 Å, respectively. Finally the signature of various bonds in the C–, O– and N–K near edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectra is discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-09-01

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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