Materials science is a very varied research field – however the advantages of micro-XRF lend themselves to analysis of the many different materials and devices which are being developed. The technique is non-destructive and fast, allowing trace element concentrations to be ascertained in the matter of minutes. A variety of analysis beam diameters are available, allowing measurements to be optimised for particular materials – for example, 1.2mm or 400 µm for macro analysis of bulk powders and large components, 100 µm or 10 µm for micro analysis of individual features or small particles. The technique is ideally suited for general elemental analysis, major and trace element composition testing, and multi-layer coating thickness analysis.
In addition, mapped imaging provides element distribution over areas up to 10 cm x 10 cm, and can offer insights into ion migration (for example, leaching or corrosion), homogeneity, internal structure and phase boundaries.
Materials analysts use micro-XRF in almost every possible research area, including the investigation of corrosion in building materials, phase separation in metal alloys, sensor and novel devices, packaging, and defect analysis in semiconductors.
- Metals and alloys
- Electronics [link to applications/electronics page]
- Building materials (concrete, cement)
- Minerals [link to applications/geology page]
- Internal structure and voids
- Multi-layer thickness analysis
- Additives in plastics
Mapping of a filled polymer shows the distribution of Calcium Silicate with small particles of Iron. The Transmitted X-ray image illustrates internal differences in density/structure.