Comparative analysis of XANES and EXAFS for local structural characterization of disordered metal oxides

Junying Li, Yuanyuan Li, Prahlad K. Routh, Evgeniy Makagon, Igor Lubomirsky, Anatoly I. Frenkel

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7 Scopus citations


In functional materials, the local environment around active species that may contain just a few nearest-neighboring atomic shells often changes in response to external conditions. Strong disorder in the local environment poses a challenge to commonly used extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) analysis. Furthermore, the dilute concentrations of absorbing atoms, small sample size and the constraints of the experimental setup often limit the utility of EXAFS for structural analysis. X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) has been established as a good alternative method to provide local electronic and geometric information of materials. The pre-edge region in the XANES spectra of metal compounds is a useful but relatively under-utilized resource of information of the chemical composition and structural disorder in nano-materials. This study explores two examples of materials in which the transition metal environment is either relatively symmetric or strongly asymmetric. In the former case, EXAFS results agree with those obtained from the pre-edge XANES analysis, whereas in the latter case they are in a seeming contradiction. The two observations are reconciled by revisiting the limitations of EXAFS in the case of a strong, asymmetric bond length disorder, expected for mixed-valence oxides, and emphasize the utility of the pre-edge XANES analysis for detecting local heterogeneities in structural and compositional motifs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1511-1517
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Synchrotron Radiation
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

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  • XAFS
  • functional materials
  • local symmetry
  • pre-edge analysis


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