Qualitative Analysis

XRF (and particularly EDXRF) is ideally suited for very fast qualitative elemental analysis. Typically all elements from sodium through to uranium can be detected simultaneously, with good quality spectra obtained in seconds/minutes.

Band assignment for an XRF spectrum is usually easy, since each element peak occurs at a known fixed position - however, overlapping bands can cause confusion, but modern software will take this into account for peak labeling.

Similarly, certain artefact peaks may be present in the spectrum, including Rayleigh and Compton scattered characteristic lines from the X-Ray generator, peaks caused by X-Ray diffraction, and sum/escape peaks. Knowledge of these is necessary to avoid incorrect interpretation of results.

In general, concentrations from 100% down to sub-ppm are detectable with XRF, the lower limit depending on the particular instrument configuration.

Qualitative Analysis