A novel portable energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometer with triaxial geometry

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The X-ray fluorescence technique is a powerful analytical tool with a broad range of applications such as quality control, environmental contamination by heavy metals, cultural heritage, among others. For the first time, a portable energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometer was assembled, with orthogonal triaxial geometry between the X-ray tube, the secondary target, the sample and the detector. This geometry reduces the background of the measured spectra by reducing significantly the Bremsstrahlung produced in the tube through polarization in the secondary target and in the sample. Consequently, a practically monochromatic excitation energy is obtained. In this way, a better peak-background ratio is obtained compared to similar devices, improving the detection limits and leading to superior sensitivity. The performance of this setup is compared with the one of a benchtop setup with triaxial geometry and a portable setup with planar geometry. Two case studies are presented concerning the analysis of a 18th century paper document, and the bone remains of an individual buried in the early 19th century.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberP01014
JournalJournal of Instrumentation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2017


  • Spectrometers
  • X-ray fluorescence (XRF) systems


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