XRF or X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometry is an elegant chemical analysis technique used frequently in many industries for quality control of materials and R&D. Despite its widespread use in industry it is an analytical technique rarely encountered by students in colleges and universities, especially in the United States. The rare exceptions to this are the geology departments in a few institutions where the technique is still used for geochemical studies. XRF units are pretty user friendly and durable as analytical instrumentation goes and quite forgiving equipment for students to learn on. I was fortunate to be introduced to XRF in the early 1990's at Franklin and Marshall College through an undergraduate research project. It was an old Diano dual tube system with a built in keyboard that looked like something out of 1960's Star Trek episode. I remember think how cool it was that we were entrusted to run the system and collect data by ourselves. Thus began my fascination with X-ray techniques and analytical geochemistry.
Outside of vendor specific educational courses it can be difficult to educate yourself or your employees about the best uses of this technique so I have assembled some of the top educational resources I have used in my career in the industry.
XRF Reference books
One of the most recent and up to date practical XRF texts covering both WDXRF and EDXRF. It has excellent sections on setting up analysis programmes for analyzing specific types of materials including line selection and common interferences.
2) XRF in the Workplace: A Guide to Practical XRF Spectrometry. James Willis, Ken Turner and Gary Pritchard, 2011.
A very hands on book that has a heavy emphasis on sample preparation, quality control, troubleshooting and laboratory maintenance The copyright pages states that it is available from PANalytical through the the following e-mail address: Sales@panalytical.com.au.
A collection of articles from different authors covering a range of X-ray topics including WDXRF, EDXRF, TXRF and synchrotron radiation induced X-ray emission. The articles are heavy in theory but good for deep background on a range of X-ray topics.
A good general purpose book written by one of the masters of XRF. The theory sections are an excellent reference but the sections on software are obviously out of date but fun to read to see how far things have come since the 1990's.
This is the classic XRF text written by the master of XRF. Excellent explanation of X-ray physics and the theoretical underpinnings of XRF.
Two educational courses that I highly recommend are the ones offered by the ICDD and University of Western Ontario.
The International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD) offers a week long XRF clinic incorporates lectures with practical exercises including s ample preparation. It's a really nice thorough introduction to XRF. This course is usually offered in April each year at their facility in Newtown Square, PA.
The University of Western Ontario offers a thorough two week short course on XRF that emphasizes the fundamentals of the technique including theory, qualitative and quantitative analysis, sample preparation and data reduction. The course is usually offered each year in June at the University.