Scanning Probe Microscopy of Clay Minerals
A set of surface-sensitive analytical techniques, collectively called scanning probe microscopy (SPM), has been developed and applied to a wide variety of materials. With SPM one can image nearly any surface in vacuum, in air, or in solution, and often can actually observe surfaces during reaction. Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and scanning force microscopy (SFM) have been used successfully in the geosciences to characterize mineral surface structure and topography, surface reactivity, and the rates and mechanisms of mineral-water reactions. SPM techniques are most easily applied to materials with nearly flat surfaces, and minerals with good cleavage, particularly clays, which are excellent prospects for investigation. However, there have been relatively few applications of SPM to geologic materials, particularly in comparison to applications in physics, chemistry, material science, or even biological sciences. The purpose of this volume is to introduce the theory and operation of SPM to clay mineralogists, summarize previous work using STM and SFM in mineralogy, and outline the advantages and limitations of SPM for future research applications.
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