X-Ray Fluorescence, usually shortened to XRF, is a very powerful analytical technique. It is used to identify elements in materials and to measure layer thickness in thin films. XRF is used daily in the recycling and electronics industries.

Principle of XRF

Principle of XRF

XRF works by shining x-rays on the material to be analyzed. The high-energy of the x-rays knocks electrons out of the inner orbitals of many elements. As a result, electrons in higher orbitals drop down in energy to fill the vacancy. As each outer electron falls to a lower energy it emits a photon related to the energy difference of the two orbitals. This is the fluorescence part of the method.

A sensor measures the fluorescence frequency (or wavelength) and intensity. From these measurements, a computer determines which elements are present in the sample. Most XRF instruments will display the spectral plot for visual identification of the elements and will list the elements it has detected.

RoHS Compliance

As the effective date for the RoHS directive approached, several XRF manufacturers released new handheld models of XRF analyzers. These devices quickly became accepted as essential tools for screening incoming materials for RoHS compliance.

The speed, sensitivity and accuracy of these easy-to-use handhelds enabled them to dominate the RoHS screening market. Small desktop and portable units also have their places in the QA lab, but the handheld units remain the favorites among incoming inspection engineers.

XRF Analyzer Articles

RoHSwell has a number of articles about various XRF brands, models and their application. These are outstanding tools that continue to find new uses within the electronics industry and elsewhere. For example, safety advocates used handheld XRF units to expose children’s toys contaminated with lead from numerous foreign sources.

  • Electronic Parts – Material Content Analysis With XRF

    Sometimes, testing is the fastest, or the only, way to determine the material content of an electronic component. The fastest, most convenient test method is XRF. With a portable XRF unit you can easily determine the presence or absence of ...
    Read more
  • X-MET5000 Hand-held XRF Analyzer From Oxford Instruments

    Oxford Instruments produces the X-MET5000, a robust X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer the for accurate and reliable identification of elements regulated by compliance legislation. The X-MET5000 represents the 4th generation of Oxford Instruments’ hand-held analyzers. This design experience combined with Oxford Instruments’ ...
    Read more
  • XRF Analyzer Review – Oxford Instruments

    With Restriction of Hazardous Substances now in full swing, there is growing demand for screening tools to check compliance. Hand-held, X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) has emerged as the tool of choice for this task. XRF analyzer units are simple to use, ...
    Read more
  • Thermo Scientific Niton FXL Field X-ray Lab

    The Thermo Scientific Niton FXL Series is a field X-Ray lab in a rather small box. It is portable, durable and rugged. Units have 1 mm, 3 mm and 8 mm spot sizes, depending on the family member selected. A ...
    Read more
  • Horiba MESA-50 EDXRF analyzer

    HORIBA has now developed the new MESA-50 EDXRF analyzer for screening measurements of samples containing hazardous elements such as Pb, Cd, Hg, Cr, Br, Sb, As. It meets RoHS, ELV and halogen-free screening criteria. The unit includes three analysis diameters, ...
    Read more