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Sci Adv. 2019 Sep 20;5(9):eaax3009. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aax3009. eCollection 2019 Sep.

Multimodal x-ray and electron microscopy of the Allende meteorite.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy and California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
JILA and Department of Physics, University of Colorado and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
Advanced Light Source, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
Department of Physics, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816, USA.


Multimodal microscopy that combines complementary nanoscale imaging techniques is critical for extracting comprehensive chemical, structural, and functional information, particularly for heterogeneous samples. X-ray microscopy can achieve high-resolution imaging of bulk materials with chemical, magnetic, electronic, and bond orientation contrast, while electron microscopy provides atomic-scale spatial resolution with quantitative elemental composition. Here, we combine x-ray ptychography and scanning transmission x-ray spectromicroscopy with three-dimensional energy-dispersive spectroscopy and electron tomography to perform structural and chemical mapping of an Allende meteorite particle with 15-nm spatial resolution. We use textural and quantitative elemental information to infer the mineral composition and discuss potential processes that occurred before or after accretion. We anticipate that correlative x-ray and electron microscopy overcome the limitations of individual imaging modalities and open up a route to future multiscale nondestructive microscopies of complex functional materials and biological systems.

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