Explore X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy

How does XRF work?

XRF is an acronym for X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. XRF is a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials. Handheld XRF analyzers work by measuring the fluorescent (or secondary) X-rays emitted from a sample when excited by a primary X-ray source. Each of the elements present in a sample produces a set of characteristic fluorescent X-rays, or “unique fingerprints”. These “fingerprints” are distinct for each element, making handheld XRF analysis is an excellent tool for quantitative and qualitative measurements. Ready to learn more? Request a demo to speak with a member from our team.

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Step-by-step XRF analysis

  1. X-rays are produced by the analyzer and pointed at a sample surface.
  2. The energy causes inner-shell electrons to be ejected.
  3. Outer-shell electrons fill the vacancies left by the ejected electrons and fluorescent x-rays are emitted.
  4. The fluorescent x-rays enter the detector and send electronic pulses to the preamp.
  5. The preamp amplifies the signals and sends them to the Digital Signal Processor (DSP).
  6. The DSP collects and digitizes the x-ray events and sends the spectral data to the main CPU for processing.
  7. The CPU analyzes the spectral data to produce detailed composition analysis.
  8. Composition data and other grade or value identification are displayed and stored in memory for later recall or download to an external PC.
How does XRF Technology work
XRF Technology eBook

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Browse the XRF and LIBS Glossary

Browse the XRF and LIBS Glossary

Want to learn more about XRF and LIBS? Visit our online glossary for a comprehensive, instant reference to vocabulary related to handheld XRF and portable LIBS.

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