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Technology Factsheet

Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer

Category: Characterization > Monitors > Radiation Monitors
Reference # : OST No 1790 , DOE/EM - 0402 Model No : Spectrace 9000/TN Lead

The portable Spectrace 9000 unit (TN Spectrace) provides for non-destructive, real-time elemental analysis for solid, liquid, thin film, and powder samples.X -ray fluorescence is a phenomenon in which atoms of a given chemical element emit characteristic X-rays when excited by radiation having and energy close to, but greater than, the biding energy of the element's inner shell electrons. Because every element has different electron shell configuration, the energy spectrum of each element's characteristic X-ray is unique to the element. Consequently, by measuring the peak energies of X-rays emitted by a sample exposed to an appropriate radiation source, it is possible to identify the elements present in the sample. Moreover, because the intensity of the characteristic X-ray emission is proportional to the number of atoms being excited, the X -ray fluorescence spectrum can also be used to measure each element's concentration.The system collects X-ray emission spectra from a sample after excitation with one or more radiation sources. The system analyzes elements of atomic number 11 and higher, at concentrations from a few parts per million to percent levels.The demonstration used a combination of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) equipment and traditional portable radiation detection equipment to test an improved characterization approach and to develop characterization data from three rooms in the CP-5 reactor. The XRF identified 25 elements quantitatively. Elevated levels of lead-based paint were found in portions of the demonstration area. These levels will require remediation action upon final site decommissioning. Concentrations of other elements were below levels of concern. Dimensions of Tech Model (LxWxH): XRF probe: 12.7 cm X 7.6 cm X 21.6 cmElectronic unit: 32 cm X 30 cm X 10 cmWeight of Tech Model (lb): XRF probe: 1.9 kgElectronic unit: 6.7 kg


Portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer technology is well-established with several vendors providing commercial instruments Units are easy to operate and conveniently carried by one operator from one field location to another Portable XRF can be used for qualitative identification of component elements as well as quantitative measurement of element concentrations Portable XRF can be used in in-situ or intrusive sampling modes Instrument vendors will provide advice and support for specify applications Only moderate training required to carry out operations Significant cost reduction, Fast turnaround time, Virtually no secondary waste Rapid analysis and immediately available results encourage high sampling density and lower cost EPA Method 6200 for soil analysis provides guidance on quality control measures The system is rugged for field use


Samples must be homogeneous to the depth of X-ray penetration (o.1 to 1 mm) Portable XRF can be subject to chemical matrix interference and interference from overlapping emission lines in X-ray spectrum from some elements Portable XRF must be used in conjunction with confirmatory analysis by laboratory methods in regulatory applications Data analysis costs may be reduced by developing and automated system of report generation. Currently, data assembly and documentation is the most costly elements of the XRF technology No useful for "light" elements with atomic number less than 32 (e.g., Li, Be, Na, Mg, Al, Si, P Detection limits are above the Toxicity Characteristic regulatory level for most RCRA analytes Results might not be comparable to reference methods that measure acid soluble contaminates rather than total concentrations




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