Introduction to XRF Spectroscopy

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is an analytical technique that uses the interaction of x-rays with a material to determine its elemental composition. XRF is suitable for solids, liquids and powders, and in most circumstances is non-destructive.

There are two main XRF methodologies - energy dispersive (EDXRF) and wavelength dispersive (WDXRF), which will be explained in more detail later on in the tutorial. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The range of detectable elements varies according to instrument configuration and set up, but typically EDXRF covers all elements from sodium (Na) to uranium (U), whilst WDXRF can extend this down to beryllium (Be). Concentrations can range from 100% down to ppm and in some cases sub-ppm levels. Limits of detection depend upon the specific element and the sample matrix, but as a general rule, heavier elements will have better detection limits.

XRF is widely used as a fast characterization tool in many analytical labs across the world, for applications as diverse as metallurgy, forensics, polymers, electronics, archaeology, environmental analysis, geology and mining. Recent advances in X-ray technology have led to the development of XRF instruments capable of high spatial resolution analysis, which are now embraced by researchers and analysts within these application areas. A range of application notes available on our XRF Resource pages illustrate the application and suitability of micro-XRF within these fields.

XRF Spectroscopy Montage