Processes at material interfaces to liquids or to high-pressure gases often involve structural changes that are heterogeneous on the micrometer scale. We present a novel in situ X-ray scattering technique that uses high-energy photons and a transmission geometry for atomic-scale studies under these conditions. Transmission surface diffraction gives access to a large fraction of reciprocal space in a single acquisition, allowing direct imaging of the in-plane atomic arrangement at the interface. Experiments with focused X-ray beams enable mapping of these structural properties with micrometer spatial resolution. The potential of this new technique is illustrated by in situ studies of electrochemical surface phase transitions and deposition processes.
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