The use of pXRF for light element geochemical analysis

Portable Spectral Services and the University of Western Australia publish findings of collaborative study on light element analysis using portable XRF

Cameron Adams (UWA & PSS) and Christabel Brand (PSS) recently published their findings from a comprehensive study involving the use of portable XRF for light element (e.g. Na, Mg, Al, Si) analysis. This peer reviewed article discusses important hardware factors that effect signal and investigates how to improve precision, measurement speed and light-element sensitivity using new applications. The effects of different protective films, detector windows (including new graphene windows) and vacuum and helium purges are explored and compared to conventional (in-air) pXRF instrumentation.

Figure 1: CXRO X-ray transmission effectiveness models presented within Adams et al. (2020). Protective X-ray entrance (nose) window is ≈3 μm thick; sample film is ≈4 μm thick and combined polymeric film thickness equates to ≈7 μm. Corresponding Kα absorption energies of common abundant elements are annotated. Argon Kβ absorption edge (noted in red) is visible in the air models. The use of helium (solid lines) significantly improve X-ray transmission for elements lighter than Si; X-ray transmission is further improved by combining helium and graphene technologies.

More information on the Bruker Tracer 5g can be found here.

Cameron Adams is a consulting Technical Geoscientist at Portable Spectral Services.
Christabel Brand is Managing Director at Portable Spectral Services.

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