X-Ray Fluoresence (XRF)

Guy Jacoby, Instructor of the XRF experiment

Room 005, Nano Center guyjacob@post.tau.ac.il    03-6405709





  1. Introduction
  2. Topics of the experiment
  3. How to prepare for the experiment?
  4. The experimental schedule
  5. Literature
  6. Links




X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is a process in which an electron in an inner atomic orbit is ejected by absorbing electromagnetic radiation. As a result a vacancy is created which is filled by an electron from a higher orbit. The difference in binding energy is radiated. When the ejected electron is in the the strongest bound (K shell) state the released radiation is in the x-ray energy region of several to several tens of KeV. The emitted radiation is characteristic to the material from which the electron was ejected and its detection can serve as a tool to identify the material. An x-ray source is used for the radiation that ejects the electron. This can be either a radioactive isotope or an x-ray tube. XRF technology is widely used in the industry for identification of materials, mainly as impurities. In this experiment the main features of XRF will be learned.



Topics of the experiment

  • Measurements of the XRF spectrums of different materials.
  • Determination of the chemical composition of materials.
  • Thickness determination of thin samples by XRF analysis.
  • Study of the basic principles of solid-state detectors.



How to prepare for the experiment?

  1. Read the Experiment instructions.
  2. Read the relevant literature (1-5 in the Literature section)
  3. Answer the preparation questions (in the experiment's instructions).




The experimental schedule

  1. Written exam - Approximately one hour.
  2. Learning the experimental apparatus.
  3. Learning the interface to the computer.
  4. Setting up a schedule for measurements.




1.      X-Ray Fluorescence

2.      Introduction to X-Ray Spectrometric Analysis by Eugene P. Bertin.
Chapter (1.8.1-5,, 5.1.1-2 (focus on semiconductor detector), 6.1.2, 5.1.5-6, 7.2, 8.1, 8.3-5). Chapters with underline are relevant for exam.

3.      Two chapters from the book: "Principles of Quantitative X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis" R.Tertian;F.Claisse (only chapter 2.1-5, 2.12)

4.      Absolute mass thickness determination of thin sample by X-ray fluorescence analysis

5.      Basic Fundamental Parameters in X-ray Fluorescence

6.      PX4 User's Manual

7.      XR100CR specifications

8.      Experiment instructions




  1. AMPTEK resources
  2. Cd109 data sheet
  3. Fe55 data sheet
  4. Table of Isotopes
  5. X-Ray Emission lines
  6. Attenuation Length
  7. Periodic Table, X-Ray Properties (including X-Ray Cross-Sections)
  8. X-ray transition energies database
  9. Spectral Resolution

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