Introduction to XRF Spectroscopy

X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) provides information on the elements present in the material analyzed. Art conservators use this method to look at metals, metal alloys, drawing materials, photographic prints, paints, and other art materials. When analyzing paint, information on the elements present helps to narrow the list of probable pigments used by the artist. The accompanying spectrum is an example of the data produced with XRF. This spectrum corresponds to the dark blue of the jacket in William James. Peaks at fixed energy levels indicate the presence of specific elements; in this case, lead, iron, calcium, potassium, and silicon. The inset shows the Museum's Artax micro-XRF spectrometer manufactured by Bruker Analytical.

Next: Probable Palette of Pigments Based on XRF Analysis
Previous Page Next Page Home Chapter Outline