X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is an analytical technique which uses the interaction of x-rays with a target material to determine its elemental composition (i.e. the range of elements present and their proportions). XRF is a totally safe, non-destructive method: delicate and fragile artefacts can be analyzed at normal atmospheric pressure without risk of damage.
The non-destructive nature of micro-XRF analysis has allowed fast and easy elemental characterisation of objects as diverse as manuscripts and metallic artfacts. Samples are analyzed intact without any time-consuming, invasive or damaging preparation. In addition, the unique mono-capillary x-ray guide tube ensures that high-sensitivity measurements can be made without the need for a full vacuum (a further potentially damaging process for fragile historical objects).
Museum curators, conservators and archaeologists use analytical techniques to provide important information about the artefacts they are studying. For example, data recovered by the application of XRF technology may shed light on the specific materials and techniques used in manufacturing the object, its likely provenance and authenticity. Corrosion products and their probable causes can also be identified, which can generally assist in the initial conservation and subsequent day-to-day care of the many priceless historical objects to be found in museums, archaeological sites and collections around the world.
X-ray fluorescence has been used for the investigation of archaeological and historical materials for some fifty years; though a great variety of spectrometers has been successfully employed, it is only with modern, fully-portable systems that non-destructivity – one of the most attractive features of this technique – can be fully exploited. Thanks to the possibility of working in situ, portable spectrometers have extended the field of XRF analysis to virtually any type of object.
The fact that archaeological and historical objects are often unique, artistically and culturally significant and not easily movable clearly requires the use of non-destructive techniques and portable instruments. On this basis, X-ray fluorescence, which is an elemental analytical technique, is one of the most useful and widely exploited. In recent times a significant improvement in spectrometer technology has been achieved through the development of both thermoelectrically-cooled detectors and miniaturized X-ray tubes.
Portable XRF technology is causing a revolution in the world of artefact verification, on-site analysis of sensitive objects and materials, archaeological and environmental assessments and the testing of antiquities. Oxford Labs can bring you the benefits of XRF technology at an affordable price. Click here for our scale of charges.