What Is an XRF Analyzer?

Juliet D'cruz

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The non-destructive analytical technique x-ray fluorescence (XRF) is used to determine the elemental makeup of materials.

An XRF analyzer detects the fluorescent x-ray released by a sample when it is excited by a primary x-ray source. This way, XRF analyzers may determine the chemistry of a sample.

XRF spectroscopy is an ideal technology for a quantitative and qualitative investigation of material composition since each element creates a set of distinct fluorescent X-rays, unique to the element. Scientists tend to call this characteristic a fingerprint.

So now, let’s explore a little deeper into what an XRF analyzer is all about.

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The XRF Process

A controlled X-ray tube is used to irradiate a liquid or solid sample with high-energy X-rays. When a sufficiently enough X-ray strikes an atom in the sample, one electron from one of the atom’s inner orbital shells is ejected.

The atom regains stability once a single electron from the atom’s higher energy orbital shell fills the vacancy left in the inner orbital shell. By  emitting fluorescent X-rays, the electron falls to a lower energy state.

The particular difference in energy between two quantum states of the electron is equal to the energy of this X-ray. The basis of XRF analysis is the measurement of this energy.

Interpreting XRF Spectra

The majority of atoms have many electron orbitals. Electrons move in and out of various shell layers as a result of X-ray radiation.

Then varying-intensity XRF peaks are formed. These will appear graphically as a representation of X-ray intensity peaks. The element’s peak energy is used to identify it, and the peak height/intensity estimates its concentration.

Which Industries Use XRF Technology?

To guarantee that material chemistry criterion are met, handheld XRF Analyzers are used, like the Cianflone Scientific XRF Analyzer.

They detect tramp elements, identify alloys, evaluate precious metals, offer geochemical data, and measure plating thickness and coating weight.

Here are some examples of industries that use XRF analysis and PMI testing:

  • Metal fabrication—To ensure that no out-of-spec or wrong alloys or metals enter the manufacturing process. They do this by non-destructive elemental analysis.
  • Precious metal recycling—To precisely determine the grade of precious metals and avoid introducing toxic metals into the recycling process.
  • Oil and gas—For piping material, PMI, which is crucial when sulfidic corrosion or flow accelerated corrosion, is an issue.
  • Aerospace and automotive—For inbound inspection and quality control of metallic and coated items.

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People, of course, use an XRF analyzer for many other applications.

Invest in the Right XRF Analyzer

Now you should understand more what an XRF analyzer is about. They are sophisticated tools that help many industries. If you are going to invest in one or more, make sure to get a high-quality tried, and tested brand.

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