X-ray fluorescence analysis is used to determine the elemental composition of a sample material. In addition to the qualitative detection of elements, a quantitative analysis can also be performed by calibration with a suitable reference material. Furthermore, the method is non-destructive for non-biological materials, opening up a wide field of application for this method.
For analysis, the sample is irradiated with X-rays from an X-ray tube in modern equipment. When the primary beam hits the sample material, it is induced by absorption and emits X-rays characteristic of the elements in the sample. Each element emits with its own wavelength and allows an assignment of the wavelength to the elements contained in the sample by qualitative determination of the X-ray fluorescence radiation emitted. The concentration of an element in a sample can in turn be determined by measuring the intensity of the radiation. Accordingly, an X-ray fluorescence analysis device basically consists of a radiation source, an analysis crystal for qualitative element detection and a detector for intensity measurement for quantitative analysis.
The method is particularly suitable for detecting impurities in the sample material, making it an excellent tool for process control. The samples can be in solid, liquid or powder form, making the method suitable for the analysis of samples from metallurgy, petrochemistry as well as for the analysis of loose rock powders or cement.