Within the last 10 years there has been a large expansion in synchrotron radiation (SR) research carried out by Earth and Environmental Scientists and they are now well established alongside Materials (sensu lato) researchers, particularly in Europe and North America. The wide and continuous energy range (‘white radiation’ tune-able over the range infrared–visible–ultra-violet–soft X-ray–hard X-ray) combined with high brightness means that a wide range of spectroscopic methods are possible, amongst which the element-specific X-ray absorption spectroscopic (XAS) technique has been crucially important in natural environment research. Because of the low intrinsic divergence of synchrotron light, monochromatic radiation expedites...

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