X-ray Fluorescence, XRF Analysis

X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) is a non-destructive technique that is used to quantify the elemental composition of solid and liquid samples. X-rays are used to excite atoms in the sample, causing them to emit x-rays with energies characteristic of each element present. The intensity and energy of these x-rays are then measured. x-ray fluorescence, xrf analysis

XRF is capable of detecting elements from Be-U in concentrations from PPM range to 100%. Because X-rays are used to excite the sample, depths as great as 10µm can be analyzed. Through the use of appropriate reference standards, XRF analysis can accurately quantify the elemental composition of both solid and liquid samples.

Two XRF systems are available, a wavelength dispersive system (WDXRF) and an energy dispersive system (EDXRF). The difference is the manner in which the x-rays are detected. WDXRF instruments have very good energy resolution which leads to fewer spectral overlaps and improved background intensities. EDXRF instruments have higher signal throughput which can shorten analysis times. The higher signal throughput also makes EDXRF systems suitable for small spot or mapping analysis.



  • Measuring metal film thickness up to several µm deep
  • Full wafer mapping (up to 300mm) of film thickness, with high precision and accuracy
  • Elemental identification in unknown solids, liquids, and powders
  • Identification of metal alloys

Signal Detected: X-rays

Elements Detected: Be-U (WDXRF); Al-U (EDXRF)

Detection Limits: 10ppm

Imaging/Mapping: Yes

Lateral Resolution/Probe Size: 500µm (WDXRF); 75µm (EDXRF)

  • Non-destructive
    • Whole wafer analysis (up to 300mm) as well as wafer pieces and small samples
    • Mapping of full wafers
  • No (or minimal) sample preparation requirements
  • Can analyze areas as small as 100-150µm
  • Can analyze solids and also liquids
  • Sampling depth as great as 10µm
  • Cannot detect elements lighter than Al using the small spot EDXRF system
  • For high accuracy, requires reference standards similar to the test sample
  • No depth profiling capability
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Data Storage
  • Defense
  • Electronics
  • Industrial Products
  • Lighting
  • Polymer
  • Semiconductor
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