2016 Atomic Spectrometry Update – a review of advances in X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and its applications

West, Margaret; Ellis, Andrew T.; Potts, Philip J.; Streli, Christina; Vanhoof, Christine and Wobrauschek, Peter (2016). 2016 Atomic Spectrometry Update – a review of advances in X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and its applications. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 31(9) pp. 1706–1755.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1039/c6ja90034h


This review describes advances in the XRF group of techniques published approximately between April 2015 and March 2016. Fundamental contributions in the instrumentation sections include the development of synchrotron radiation sources, semiconductor design technology and evaluating the quality of in situ hand-held XRF results. A bench top TXRF spectrometer for the measurement of the elements from carbon to uranium is described that offers achievable detection limits that range from ng g−1 to μg g−1. The applications sections aim to give a representative overview of the range of applications that use XRF techniques with an emphasis on papers that describe technical or application innovation. Sample size investigated ranged from the planet Mercury down to nano-gram quantities of cement secreted by settlement stage barnacle larvae. The archaeological and cultural heritage section this year includes an authentic report on the use of cannabis as a filler in ancient lime plaster and heartening news that the construction of an underground parking garage in the centre of Zurich (Switzerland) unearthed the remains of seven Neolithic settlements from the 4th and 3rd millennium BC. The X-ray excitation of iron present in ancient iron-gall inks was presented as a step toward the non-invasive reading of fragile and/or unopenable documents. Feedback from readers of this review is most welcome and the review coordinator may be contacted using the email address provided.

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