XAS Spectroscopy System
First lab XAS with both transmission and fluorescence modes
Wide energy from 4.5 to 25 keV

Key Advantages:

Synchrotron-like Performance in a Laboratory XAS System

X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) generates the most publications of any synchrotron approach. Because of the technique’s popularity, XAS beamtime can be challenging to acquire, requiring in some cases lengthy proposal submission and evaluation periods. The competitive nature of oversubscribed beamlines mean that even highly meritorious projects rejected. Sigray developed the QuantumLeap products to make it easy to access synchrotron-like XAS performance within your own laboratory, making it possible to complete research otherwise not possible, including those involving many samples or complex in-situ experiments.

Synchrotron vs. Sigray results for Ni foil, taken at up to k=15
Pharmacology and Biochemistry – XANES and EXAFS of Mn with Adipate Ligand (Mn2Adp2DMA) before (G-Mn-Adp) and after (C-Mn-Adp) heat shock (3 minutes at 240 C). XANES (A&B) shows no oxidation state change. FEFF analysis of EXAFS (C&D) shows there was a redistribution of bond lengths (short bonds increased while long bonds decreased), but the octahedral geometry and presence of 6 oxygen atoms remained the same, indicating the adipate ligands remained intact.
Fluorescence-mode XAS for Low Concentration Samples

X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) is measured by the amount of x-rays absorbed by the sample near the absorption edge energy of an element of interest. At this resonance energy, slight differences in x-ray absorption are attributable to differences in the electronic structure (e.g., oxidation state and bond lengths). The most direct way to measure XAS is in transmission-mode, in which the number of x-rays transmitted through the sample is used to determine how absorbing the sample is to the x-ray energy. An indirect method is fluorescence-mode. Due to the absorption of x-rays, the electrons of atoms of interest are excited. Upon relaxation, fluorescence photons are produced. The total intensity of fluorescence photons is determined by how many x-rays were originally absorbed.

Both transmission and fluorescence modes of XAS produce the same spectral graphs. The difference is that fluorescence mode is superior for low concentration (<1-5%) samples while transmission mode is superior for bulk samples. QuantumLeap-H2000 can provide results on concentrations as low as 0.1 to 0.5wt%. Additionally, fluorescence mode XAS is required for samples that are thick or mounted to a thick substrate.

Fluorescence data can be found in our XAS results gallery, including 2-5wt% Mn and Co in NMC battery samples and 0.5wt% Pd, Pt, and W in catalysts. A white paper on QuantumLeap-H2000’s fluorescence mode capabilities can be found here.


Download Applications Note on QuantumLeap for LIBs

Download Applications Note on QuantumLeap for Co Speciation in NMCs

Download White Paper on Sigray Systems for Battery Science
Transmission-mode XAS (left) measure how many x-rays are transmitted through the sample, who fluorescence-mode XAS (right) measures the number of fluorescent photons emitted by the sample. Both methods can be used to determine how absorbing the sample is. Fluorescence mode XAS is better for thicker samples and samples of lower concentrations, while transmission mode XAS is better for samples of higher concentrations. QuantumLeap-H2000 provides access to both modes.
Fluorescence XAS of 0.5wt% Pt in a Pt/Sn catalyst on an Al2O3 carrier. Pt L3 edge analyzed with Si(440) cylindrically curved Johansson crystal.
FT-EXAFS of low weight percentage (<3-5%) Co in NMC batteries acquired in fluorescence mode, showing the comparison of the charged and discharged state. Applications note on this can be found here.
Energy Range from 4.5 to 25 keV

QuantumLeap is the only laboratory system capable of operating at low Bragg angles, which enables acquisition of a complete EXAFS from a single crystal, without requiring stitching together multiple datasets. In comparison, systems operating with high Bragg angles (e.g., 55 degrees to near-backscatter at 85 degrees) require multiple crystal analyzers to maintain adequate resolution. Operating at a high 85 degree Bragg angle can provide high energy resolution, but comes with major drawbacks for usability. For instance, a crystal rotation of 1 degree will only cover 7 eV at 4.5 keV and 39 eV at 25 keV. The same crystal can be used for the entire EXAFS range only if energy resolution is severely sacrificed. Otherwise, adequate energy resolution requires a very large number of crystal analyzers to cover a 1000 to 2000 eV bandwidth of EXAFS. Use of many crystals is disadvantageous because it does not allow for straightforward robotic exchange of crystals (instead, manual changing of crystals is required that severely slows down acquisition time) and because each acquisition must be stitched and aligned.

QuantumLeap-H2000 uses a patented line focus x-ray source and achieves XAS acquisition at low Bragg angles, enabled by the use of Johansson x-ray crystals
K-edge of Zirconium foil at its absorption K-edge of ~18 keV. QuantumLeap H2000 is uniquely capable of K edges of high Z elements (up to 25 keV).
Read about QuantumLeap’s high energy XAS capabilities in this applications note.

System Features

  1. Patented high brightness x-ray source with multiple targets, enabling high throughput in the laboratory and acquisition of the full range of elements
  2. Photon counting detector for high flux measurements
  3. Intuitive software for acquisition and analysis. Can output data in CVS files to be read by software such as Athena and Artemis
Patented Low Contamination High Brightness X-ray Source with In-built Calibration Targets

The QuantumLeap’s x-ray source is made in-house at Sigray and features a design in which the target material is in optimal thermal contact with diamond, which has excellent thermal conductivity. The rapid cooling of diamond enables higher power loading on the x-ray source to produce an intense beam of x-rays. In addition, the x-ray source has customizability for the primary source target material, which is typically chosen in collaboration with the customer based on their applications of interest.

In addition to benefits of high brightness, a relatively small spot size that enables fluorescence XAS (white paper), the QuantumLeap source is the first source to incorporate internal calibration targets. This allows calibrating off the spectral line of the x-ray source, rather than the conventional calibration approach using absorption profiles of thin films. Not only is the calibration far more accurate when using the spectral line vs. absorption profiles (allowing higher energy resolution), but calibration only needs to be performed once and is scripted through software. In contrast, calibration using thin foils is frequently required in other laboratory XAS systems and can be time-consuming and typically requires manual intervention.

Patented QuantumLeap source (left) with multiple calibration targets. These calibration targets enable calibration based on the fluorescence line (right), which is far more precise and less time-consuming than the conventional approach of using absorption profiles of foils.
Photon Counting Detector in Transmission Mode

QuantumLeap-H2000 uses a patented transmission XAS acquisition approach in which a novel photon counting detector is used to acquire the XAS spectrum instead of a conventional silicon drift detector (SDD). These detectors have extremely fast readout speeds to detect each photon individually, enabling energy thresholding to remove harmonic contamination. Using these detectors instead of SDDs enables count rates of up to 10^8 (100 million) counts per second – more than 500X that of SDDs; SDDs are limited to half a million counts per second. Such detectors are necessary for the transmission mode of XAS QuantumLeap due to the high flux incident upon the sample. For fluorescence mode XAS, QuantumLeap-H2000 uses an SDD detector.


QuantumLeap features an intuitive GUI for acquiring data, including the capability to set up recipe-based scans for point-by-point mapping or for multiple samples (a sample holder for up to 16 samples of 3″ diameters is provided). Data can be output as CSV files that can be easily read into analytical software, including Athena and Artemis.

QuantumLeap software follows an intuitive workflow in which the element of interest is selected and suggested settings are loaded. Options such as exposure times and number of images are then input. The acquired spectrum is displayed in real time during collection.



Catalysts, which are used to speed up chemical reactions, are estimated to be used in 90% of all commercially produced chemical products and represent more than a $30B global market. They are used in a vast array of applications, spanning from polymers, food science, petroleum, energy processing, and fine chemicals. Synchrotron-based XAS has become the method of choice for developing novel catalysts and to link structural motifs with catalytic properties. QuantumLeap provides convenient in-laboratory access to such capabilities without requiring the time and expense of acquiring synchrotron beamtime.

Some of the most challenging aspects of acquiring catalyst XAS spectra are that they require high energy resolution to resolve pre-edge peaks of interest (see Rutile example on right) and are often prepared in low concentrations (<1wt%), particularly when the metal is precious. The low concentrations cannot be analyzed using conventional transmission geometry XAS and necessitate fluorescence geometry XAS. QuantumLeap-H2000 is the only commercial XAS system capable of acquiring fluorescence geometry XANES and EXAFS at high SNR and suitable throughputs. An example of overlaid spectra from challenging 0.5wt% to 2wt% Pd samples is shown as an example on the right.

A white paper on the fluorescence geometry XAS capabilities of QuantumLeap-H2000 is found here.

Analysis of chemistry in a Co-Cu catalyst sample and measurement of a reference Co foil. Note high resolution features such as pre-edges can be clearly seen.
High energy resolution of QuantumLeap used to resolve three pre-edge peaks of Rutile samples.
Sigray QuantumLeap provides high signal-to-noise EXAFS results on a Pt-BN catalyst with <2% wt in fluorescence-mode. Pt. Results show Pt-N bonding with coordination number (CN) of ~1.2 and Pt-Pt CN as ~5.5. Both oxidized and reduced versions of Ni were found present in the results. Shown is the Pt-BN Catalyst in R space.
Batteries and Fuel Cells

There are a very large number of potential electrode hosts for Li+ being explored in lithium ion batteries (LIBs), including different material compositions and various structures (micro to nanosized). XAS is commonly used to characterize structural and electronic information of electrodes to obtain understanding of electrochemical mechanisms governing a given battery’s chemistry. Sigray’s QuantumLeap not only enables ex-situ determination of electrocatalyst chemistry, but is also designed with baffles and feedthroughs for optional in-situ cells to study changes in-operando.

An applications note describing the use of QuantumLeap for a set of NMC materials can be found in the links below, and a white paper on the use of fluorescence mode XAS of the QuantumLeap for particularly challenging NMC samples with low concentration elements can be found here.

Download: Cobalt Speciation in Low Wt % NMC Batteries

Download: NMC Chemistry During Charge Cycling
Mn oxidation states in NMC batteries, compared with standards of Mn and MnO2.
Zoom-in of fluorescence XAS of Mn K edge for charged and discharged NMC samples. The NMC samples were Ni-dominant, with only 2% Mn.
Isosbestic points seen in Co K-edge for four different samples with Co of <2% wt. A Least Squares Linear Combination Fitting was performed on the spectra which indicated two distinct species: S1S1 (most reduced) and S1S2 (most oxidized). S1S3 and S1S4 were comprised of the two distinct species. More information is found in our Apps Note (email [email protected] to receive a copy).
High Energy XAS (e.g., Lathanides)

Chemistry of high atomic number elements such as lathanides are important to nuclear fuel research and for catalyst research (e.g., Pt and Pd). One of the powerful advantages of QuantumLeap-H2000 is that it can perform high energy spectroscopy up to 25 keV, as shown in the figures on the right and described in an applications note.

Various Ru formulations taken at the K-edge (22 keV), showing the power of Sigray QuantumLeap for high energy fluorescence-mode EXAFS measurements. Data was acquired at 3 hours (Ru powder), 4 hours (RuO2), and 4.5 hours (RuP)

Technical Specifications of the QuantumLeap-H2000

OverallEnergy Coverage4.5 to 25 keV
XAS AcquisitionTransmission mode
Fluorescence mode
Energy Resolution0.7 eV in XANES
5-10 eV in EXAFS
(Note that you can also use XANES mode to acquire high resolution EXAFS)
Beam PathHelium flight path
Focus at SampleLine focus: 30-100 μm in one direction; ~300 um - 3mm in other direction
SourceTypeSigray patented ultrahigh brightness sealed microfocus source
Target(s)Mo standard with calibration (W, Cr, Fe) targets.
Others available upon request.
Power | Voltage300W | 20-50 kVp
X-ray CrystalsTypeUp to 5 crystals
Base configuration comes with 3 cylindrically curved Johansson crystals. Additional crystals for high energy or for EXAFS optimization are readily available as options.
X-ray Detector(s)Type(s)Spatially resolving (pixelated detector) for transmission XAS
Silicon drift detector (SDD) for fluorescence XAS
Count Rate10^8 x-rays/s for photon counting detector
500k cps for SDD
DimensionsFootprint and Weight62" W x 78.5" H x 66" D
4226 lb


In-situ Cells

QuantumLeap is designed with feedthroughs and baffles for flexibility in designing and executing in-situ and in-operando experiments. We currently offer an off-the-shelf design for in-situ with the following capabilities:

  • Vacuum-compatible sample chamber reaching 10^-7 Torr
  • Gate valve for load lock mechanism
  • Fluid feedthroughs for Argon and O2
  • Feedthroughs for electrical, power, and heating
In-situ cell with ultrahigh vacuum sample environment and gas feedthroughs

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