X-ray fluorescence analysis

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A nondestructive analytical method used to qualitatively and semi-quantitatively determine the elemental content of materials. The x-ray spectrum emitted from each element has a unique set of energies that are related to the type and amount of atoms present in the sample. Detection limits vary depending on instrument, elements, and sample matrix. The instrument source can be an x-ray tube, synchrotron or a sealed radioactive source. A similar x-ray spectrum is generated by the emission of x-rays using an electron beam as a source in a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Typically, for an instrument in air, calcium is the lowest atomic number element measured; when air is evacuated, such as in a SEM, the lowest detectable element is carbon.

Synonyms and Related Terms

XRF; analyse par fluorescence X (Fr.); spettrofotometria XRF (It.); Röntgenfluoreszenzanalyse (RFA) (Deut.); Röntgenfluoreszenzspektroskopie (RFS) (Deut.); röntgenfluorescentiespectrometrie (Ned.); análise por fluorescência de raios X (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • E.S. Lindgren, Special millennium issue on cultural heritage, X-ray Spectrometry, 29 (2000) 1
  • R. E. van Grieken, A. E. Markowicz, Handbook of X-ray spectrometry, 2nd edition, M. Dekker, New-York (2002)
  • L. D. Glinsman, The Application of X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry to the Study of Museum Objects, Doctoral Thesis, University of Amsterdam, 2004.
  • Walter C. McCrone, John Gustave Delly, The Particle Atlas, W. McCrone Associates, Chicago, IV, 1972
  • Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technologies, Paul Nicholson, Ian Shaw (eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000 Comment: B.Aston, J.Harrell, I.Shaw, "Stone" and P.Nicholson, J.Henderson, "Glass"
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993

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