We demonstrate the potential of X-ray photo-emission electron microscopy (XPEEM) to reveal valence-state images of the spatial distribution and relative concentration of metals in specific oxidation states. Additionally, XPEEM allows X-ray absorption spectra to be extracted from chosen pixel areas of the images. Using an in-house-built XPEEM instrument we show an application of the method in providing valence-state images of complex mineral intergrowths. The image resolution achieved with this instrument of simple design was ~5 μm and reasonable quality X-ray absorption spectra were extracted from areas of ~5 × 5 μm. These initial results suggest that by using commercial XPEEM instruments on 3rd generation, high-brightness synchrotron sources a spatial resolution of 100 nm or better could be achieved, with the ability to extract high-quality X-ray absorption spectra from areas of 0.1 μm2. Given that standard thin sections or polished blocks can be studied by XPEEM, and that each XPEEM image records ~1000 μm2, XPEEM can be used in conjunction with other analytical methods such as EMPA and TEM-EELS/PEELS.

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