An X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer is an x-ray instrument used for routine, relatively non-destructive chemical analyses of rocks, minerals, sediments and fluids. It works on wavelength-dispersive spectroscopic principles that are similar to an electron microprobe (EPMA). The relative ease and low cost of sample preparation, and the stability and ease of use of x-ray spectrometers make this one of the most widely used methods for analysis of major and trace elements in rocks, minerals, and sediment.

X-Ray fluorescence is used in a wide range of applications, including:

research in igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic petrology

soil surveys

mining (e.g., measuring the grade of ore)

cement production

ceramic and glass manufacturing

metallurgy (e.g., quality control)

environmental studies (e.g., analyses of particulate matter on air filters)

petroleum industry (e.g., sulfur content of crude oils and petroleum products)

field analysis in geological and environmental studies (using portable, hand-held XRF spectrometers)


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