Scientists from Finland and France have come up with new form of synchrotron X-ray technique that helps in the visualization of hidden building blocks of life.
The X-ray tomography, which is widely used in medicine and material science, is sensitive to the shape and texture of a given sample but cannot reveal chemical states at the macroscopic scale.
They used extremely bright X-rays from a synchrotron light source to form images of the chemical bond distribution of different carbon forms embedded deep in an opaque material.
"Now I would love to try this on Martian or moon rocks. Our new technique can see not only which elements are present in any inclusions but also what kind of molecule or crystal they belong to. If the inclusion contains oxygen, we can tell whether the oxygen belongs to a water molecule. If it contains carbon, we can tell whether it is graphite, diamond-like, or some other carbon form, said Simo Huotari from the University of Helsinki.
The results have been published in Nature Materials as an advance online publication.