Reconstruction of fracture surfaces on bornite

Sarah L. Harmer, Allen R. Pratt, H. Wayne Nesbitt, Michael E. Fleet

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44 Citations (Scopus)


Synchrotron-radiation X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (SRXPS) and conventional X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) have been used to study a pristine fracture-surface of bornite (Cu5FeS4). Comparisons of these high-resolution spectra reveal, for the first time, four distinct contributions to the S 2p spectra. The main symmetric peak of the S 2p spectra for bornite is located at about 163.51 eV and is derived from bulk S atoms. The broad nature of the bulk contribution, in comparison to other 3d transition-metal sulfides such as chalcopyrite, is consistent with the presence of eight crystallographically distinct S sites within the structure, these sites being energetically as well as structurally distinct. A second peak located at 160.1 eV is attributed to a surface monomeric species (S2-) of lower coordination. The presence of a second broad surface-contribution at 162.1 eV likely represents surface polymeric species (SN2-). The presence of surface sulfur polymers indicates the stabilization of the bornite surface upon fracture through formation of S-S bonds. These data suggest that surface polymers form where polar surfaces are exposed during conchoidal fracture. A high binding-energy tail was observed at about 163 eV and extends to about 166 eV, the origin of which is uncertain. Conventional XPS Cu 2p and Fe 2p spectra collected from a pristine fracture-surface of bornite reveal a Cu1+ peak centered at about 932.2 eV and a high-spin Fe3+ peak centered at 708 eV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1619-1630
Number of pages12
JournalCanadian Mineralogist
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Bornite
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Sulfides
  • Surface speciation
  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy


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