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    Selenium is in many ways an enigmatic element. It is essential for health but toxic in excess, with the difference between the two doses being narrower than for any other element. Environmentally, selenium is of concern due to its toxicity. As the rarest of the essential elements, its low levels often provide challenges to the analytical chemist. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) provides a powerful tool for in situ chemical speciation but is severely limited by poor spectroscopic resolution arising from core-hole lifetime broadening. Here we explore selenium Kα1 high energy resolution fluorescence detected XAS (HERFD-XAS) as a novel approach for chemical speciation of selenium, in comparison with conventional Se K-edge XAS. We present spectra of a range of selenium species relevant to environmental and life science studies, including spectra of seleno-amino acids, which show strong similarities with S K-edge XAS of their sulfur congeners. We discuss strengths and limitations of HERFD-XAS, showing improvements in both speciation performance and low concentration detection. We also develop a simple method to correct fluorescence self-absorption artifacts, which is generally applicable to any HERFD-XAS experiment.

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    Susan Nehzati, Natalia V Dolgova, Ashley K James, Julien J H Cotelesage, Dimosthenis Sokaras, Thomas Kroll, Graham N George, Ingrid J Pickering. High Energy Resolution Fluorescence Detected X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy: An Analytical Method for Selenium Speciation. Analytical chemistry. 2021 Jul 06;93(26):9235-9243

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    PMID: 34164981

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