MIT MRSEC - Materials Reseach Science and Engineering Center

X-ray Diffraction Shared Experimental Facility

Bruker Tracer-III SD Portable XRF

Instrument Status

This instrument is available for use. If you would like to be trained in its use, please contact facility staff.

Instrument Description

Our X-ray fluorescence (XRF) unit provides rapid qualitative non-destructive elemental analysis. It is capable of identifying most elements heavier than magnesium in three minutes or less. Normally it gives qualitative results, e.g. trace element identification and relative comparisons of similar samples. Quantitative analysis is possible but very difficult, becuse the user will need to create calibration standards for each element of interest. Our Bruker Tracer-III uses a rhodium X-ray source and a silicon-based detector.

This instrument is an energy dispersive (ED) XRF unit. Compared to wavelength-dispersive units, EDXRF produces broader peaks, but collects data extremely rapidly and produces a full XRF spectrum from 1 to 40 keV almost instantly. The broad peaks tend to overlap, but this is not normally a problem, since we usually have multiple characteristic lines to observe for each element of interest. However, it can limit detection of trace elements when a neighboring element is producing a large signal.

Because we almost always see some Rayleigh-scattered rhodium X-rays from the source, identification of rhodium in your samples is very difficult. In addition, rhodium L lines overlap significantly with chlorine K lines, making analysis of chlorine difficult. There are also some palladium components in this instrument, so it is normal to see some Pd in the spectra regardless of whether you actually have Pd in your sample. There are also several other common spectral artifacts that may or may not show up in your spectra, such as sum peaks. To help correct these artifacts, we have various metal filters, and can adjust the X-ray generator to different power settings.

Although this is considered a "portable" XRF unit, we cannot actually take it out of the lab due to X-ray safety requirements. If you have a large sample that will not fit inside the black metal cup, please contact X-ray staff. We can wrap a portion of your sample in lead foil to safely conduct your measurements.

XRF

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XRF