As synchrotron X-ray scattering techniques and detector technology have developed, real-time in situ experiments have become increasingly possible. Alongside this, synchrotron facilities have become more generally accessible, including the Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne. Synchrotron light is broad spectrum electromagnetic radiation, extending from the infrared to hard X-rays. It is orders of magnitude brighter than laboratory sources, and the X-ray energy is tunable. The intense brightness of synchrotron sources mean that they have great utility in studies of nanoscale, dilute and weakly scattering systems. The measurement time may also be greatly reduced, sometimes to the point that chemical and physical processes can be followed in real-time.
The synchrotron is an ideal tool for studying corrosion behaviour for a wide variety of materials. Real-time measurements can be performed to investigate dissolution and film deposition, including nucleation events. Elemental studies can also be performed by exploiting the tunability of the X-ray energy. This paper will review the use of synchrotron light in corrosion research and discuss future possibilities