Give these “Guns” a Try for your PMI and Alloy Analysis

Our X and Z – X-ray and Laser alloy analyzers – have revolutionized the world of PMI and NDT with their size, speed, connectivity, test data management and reporting, and range of testing applications.

The X

The world’s lightest, smallest, fastest, high precision alloy gun. Weighing barely 3 lbs, it is lightning fast, and can be used all day long without fatigue. More than 90% of all alloys can be identified in 1 second with excellent precision, and the most challenging super-alloys in 3 sec. Yes many “PMI guns” will test alloys. But only the X is built on the Android platform for real time data exporting anywhere on the planet, efficient test data input and reporting. If you do PMI, especially at more than one location, you really need to check out the X before you replace your existing analyzer.

The Z

The ONLY laser (LIBS) with high enough precision to do PMI/NDT across all alloy bases. The Z features blistering speed and highly precise alloy analysis. It excels at aluminum alloys due to it’s performance on Mg, Si, Li, Be, B and other key alloying elements. The Z works well on a variety of carbon and low alloy steels due to the powerful laser and on-board argon purge. It measures carbon and carbon equivalents (CE) well enough for many applications – and has the distinction of being the only handheld analyzer on the planet to offer quantitative carbon analysis from 0.1% and higher. The Z also analyzes copper alloys, stainless and high temps.

The One-Box

Can’t decide? Get our popular “One Box.” Analyze any element, sort any alloy with best precision across the board. The X and Z share the same user interface, same batteries, chargers, cables – it makes training a breeze. Use each for any sorting job, or allocate the X to SS and high temps, the Z to aluminums. Either analyzer can back-up the other.


What’s NEW for LIBS and the Z!

Carbon and CE for low alloy steels

Unprecendented in Handheld Technology: The Z-200 now analyzes carbon content in steels and low-alloy steels. With it’s unique argon purge we quantify carbon, and measure the other elements with high enough precision to also report carbon equivalents (CE).

FAC (Flow-accelerated corrosion)

Power Generators: Need to measure down to 0.03% Cr in carbon steels for FAC? We have dozens of LIBS units at power plants performing FAC analysis every day, in addition to regular alloy verification as part of their NDT program.

Silicon at < 0.05% for in-service PMI on carbon steels

Need low silicon in carbon steels for in-service PMI? We’re completing a study with a major oil refiner. Put your name on the list to receive the App Note when published data is released.

The SciAps Connectivity App

Data management, reporting and results sharing like you’d never thought possible on a handheld analyzer. Now possible with the integration of Android’s open-source, global connectivity and the SciAps analyzers.

The SciAps Connectivity App is optional, and may be purchased at time of analyzer purchase, or added at any SciAps X or Z at a later date. Visit our Apps Page for pricing and Downloading. Coming soon to Google Play!

  • IMG_9875

    Testing alloy chemistry and grade of finished materials at a fab shop in Shenzen, China.
  • person at desktop computer

    Verifying the alloy is correct in real time in Houston.

Real time results sharing globally

Data taken on analyzer is instantly shared with any connected PC, anywhere in the world. Both PC and analyzer must be connected to the internet. If analyzer is not connected or loses connection, testing data is automatically transferred the next time internet connection is established. Works with most phone hot spots.

Share test results with your phone for instant emailing

SciAps App shares test results to mobile phone via Bluetooth automatically. Users can view current or previous test results, page them exactly like a camera roll. Results can be emailed as pdf files direct from phone. Currently only available with Android phones. Apple capability coming soon.

Share data with wireless or Bluetooth printers for instant or automated printing

Automatically send test results to wifi printers, or to Zebra belt mounted Bluetooth printer. Printers not included with App.

Why the X for PMI-NDT?


Size, speed and precision

The X is small, lightweight, ergonomically packaged, and offers blistering speed and high precision. The X delivers the fastest, most precise results available with handheld X-ray for stainless, high-temp alloys and aluminum alloys. The performance is especially good on the lower atomic number elements Mg, Si, Al, S and P due to our highly-optimized X-ray tube and detector design. The results with beam 2 are exceptional including S and P in stainless, carbon steels and copper alloys, Mg and Si in aluminums and Si and Al in red metals.

Total Upgradeability – Defy Obsolescence

The SciAps 90+ Guarantee

If you buy a more basic (and lower priced) X model, you can always upgrade your analyzer to a higher performing version by paying the difference in price, plus at most 10% additional. It’s why we call it the 90+ guarantee. You get at least 90% of your original purchase credited, now matter how old your analyzer, provided it’s in working condition.

An X for every performance and price need



Premium XRF in terms of speed and precision on all alloys, especially complex nickel and cobalt super-alloys.

Fastest analysis AND most precise chemistry on alloys, welds, rods, and wires.



Offers comparable speed/precision as top of the line competing brands, at a lower price point.

Smaller, lighter package than competing brands.



Identical to X-200 for elements titanium and higher elements. No 2nd beam calibrations, so Mg, Al, Si, P and S are NOT analyzed.

Perfect alternative to older PIN diode detector technology if you want 9x the speed or 3X the precision.



Our most economical model,

Great for sorting most SS, nickel/cobalt, copper alloys in 3-5 seconds EXCEPT those that require analysis of Mg, Al, Si, P or S.

SciAps X Shutter

Defending your Investment by Design

Are broken detectors and outrageous repair costs causing you headaches?

Years of detector data show that 90% of all detector punctures happen when the analyzer is NOT in use. Operators accidentally poke their finger or a tool into the aperture, often when cleaning or replacing the thin plastic window – and puncture the detector. Or in the process of pushing the analyzer into a container of turnings, a metal fragment penetrates the front aperture.

SciAps designed all the X analyzers with a novel high-speed shutter made of 316 stainless. The shutter is closed except during a test, creating an impenetrable barrier to the stray finger, tool, or metal fragment when the analyzer is not analyzing.

Unique to the industry:
the SciAps 90+ guarantee

If you buy a more basic (and lower priced) X or Z model, you can always upgrade your analyzer to a higher performing version and get at least 90% of what you paid credited towards the new model.

Why the Z for PMI-NDT?


Carbon and Carbon Equivalents

Carbon ElementThe Z-200 and Z-300 can now analyze carbon content in many, not all, carbon and low-alloy steels. The Z is the only handheld analyzer in the world capable of providing carbon and CE measurements. Check out our Carbon App Note for all the details.

Residual Silicon for In-service Carbon Steel Components

The Z measures silicon down to 0.05% in a 10-15 second total test time, with far better precision and testing speed than portable XRF. The Z is also less affected by the intense heat exposures, than XRF, for in-service PMI.

The Best Performance for Aluminum and Magnesium Alloys

LIBS – especially the Z – analyzes aluminum and magnesium alloys with the greatest speed and precision of any handheld technology. If your focus is the most precise and fastest sorting of these types of alloys, then the Z is the only choice.

Flow-accelerated Corrosion (FAC)

If you need to test for FAC, especially in a power plant with onerous X-ray regulations, then the Z is a great choice. We’ve got dozens of users in the power industry, and great references – just contact us. The Z has a Cr LOD of 0.03% in a 3 second test.

Z-SCREEN-BEZEL-weld. ON board camera. laser targeting

No X-rays or Radiation Regulations

Say goodbye to radiation badges, record keeping for usage and training and surprise regulatory inspections. The Z uses laser, not x-ray, therefore eliminating burdensome and costly regulatory compliance.

More Elements than X-ray

The Z analyzes many elements that HH X-ray can’t test at all. Those of vital interest to the alloy community include Li, Be, B and as noted above C in some steel applications.

Weld Analysis

Both the X and the Z can analyze welds. In some cases, the Z is better because of the surgical nature of the on-board camera, laser spot finder, and 50 um laser beam diameter. The operator can hone in on a specific region of the weld for a highly localized chemistry. Or even measure multiple spots across a weld to look at the heat affected zone.

Expensive X-ray tube and detector replacements?

The X is tough, with it’s X-shutter that virtually eliminates detector punctures, but the Z is tougher

Good news! The Z has no detectors or tubes to break. Poke away at the aperture, you can’t damage the quartz blast shield. In fact, LIBS service costs are far lower than our already low X-ray service costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question on X-ray or laser analyzers?
E-mail it to us at Subscribe to our weekly news where we send out our question of the week along with our answer.

Not yet. The Z is currently not sensitive enough to reliably differentiate 0.03% from 0.05% carbon content. We’re working on it, and we’ve got some great new proprietary laser and spectrometer technology in the pipeline. So check with us in the future.
Answer 1:
If you really want carbon, and your carbon application meets the specifications in our Carbon Application Note, then the Z (laser) is the best choice. Handheld X-ray won’t do carbon, and test times and sensitivity to surface material is high for low silicon.
Answer 2:
Another option is the “One Box” consisting of the Z-200 and the X-50. Why this combination? The Z will provide you with the C and Si testing you need. For a little more money, you can then use the X for your stainless, Cr/Mo steels, and high temp alloys. The X-50 will handle your Ti in 321 and your low V in P91 if you need this. Most PMI applications don’t require Al, Mg or Si measurements in these stainless or high temp alloys. And the Z-200 X-50 OneBox is still less money than most cart-based OES units, and you maximize portability for most of your applications.

What makes the Z uniquely capable for NDT, PMI Applications?

Argon Purge

sk any OES user. LIBS is an OES method, it just uses a pulsed laser rather than a spark source. The key to precise alloy chemistry with OES is argon purge. Argon CartridgeArgon purge yields 10x or more the signal strength and improved detection limits compared to air-burn methods. For carbon, because the 193.1 nm emission is so deep in the UV, the boost with argon is closer to 100x. Without argon, it simply wouldn’t be possible to achieve needed detection limits or measurement precision on C, Si, Cr and other transition or heavy metals – which are critical for reliable NDT/PMI testing.

How does the SciAps argon purge work? SciAps delivers portability for argon purge. With our highly efficient OptipurgeTM design, a user-replaceable canister in the handle delivers typically 600 tests. Costs are about a penny per test, as argon canisters cost about $6 each. Compare this to OES, where the argon costs are 10-15 cents/test and that’s with a large, cumbersome argon tank. When not in use, the canister is sealed to the regulator, no gas is consumed. Don’t need portability? Use our regulator attachment that mates to a larger belt-mounted argon canister or a standard stationary tank typical of spark OES analyzers.

Argon Door Open

Superior Laser Design

Laser Power

The Z handles all your alloys, not just aluminums. How? The Z fields a high energy per laser pulse. It delivers high energy onto the sample (5-6 mJ/pulse) in a billionth of a second to generate gigawatt power densities – the key to a good plasma even on the most refractory alloys types. Moreover the Z laser operates at a 50 Hz repetition rate, firing 50 such laser pulses every second. Thirty years of LIBS research have shown that milli-joules of pulse energy, not the micro-joule lasers in other handheld LIBS units, is one of the critical requirements for quantitative analysis.

Rarely Grind

The Z eliminates sample surface effects that plague other handheld LIBS instruments. The high energy, high repetition pulses burn through nearly all surface contaminants, dirt and oils. The Z’s laser method fires at 50 Hz (50 pulses/second) on a single location to burn away sample contamination and dirt over a 0.2 s period, then collects spectral data for 0.3 s for chemical analysis. The laser optics then rasters automatically to repeat this process for several more locations. The result is precise, repeatable chemistry after 1-2 seconds of testing. The Z’s patent-pending combination of sample “cleaning” and rastering eliminates variability from dirt or surface contamination. Rastering averages out localized (50 um) effects from grain boundaries or inclusions.

When to Grind:

  • If the material has been in service in a high temperature application, and the surface is heavily oxidized or fouled.

  • If you are analyzing for carbon or low silicon, grinding is essential. Please see the respective application notes for specific recommendations.

Spectrometer Gating

The Z incorporates an advanced features called spectrometer gating, just like sophisticated laboratory LIBS units. In fact the Z is the only handheld LIBS to use gating. Gating is critical if a HH LIBS unit is to be used for PMI applications, and this is why the Z is the only HH LIBS accepted for FAC analysis and carbon content testing.

Gating reduces the spectral background, allowing for trace level elements to be measured. For example in low alloy steels, the Z can measure V as low as 0.05%, Cr at 0.03%, Ni at 0.05% and other critical alloying elements. These analyses are critical for both valid alloy identification, and in the case of carbon steels, making a good determination of carbon equivalents (CE).

The Z Calibrations

Another Major Distinction from other Handheld LIBS

The Z, like spark OES analyzers, uses the long-established approach of calibration curves based on intensity ratios to generate quantitative alloy chemistry.  This method is far more robust than simple spectral fingerprint alloy ID used by other handheld LIBS analyzers.  For the standard (IR) curves, users test any material. The Z automatically determines the alloy base and chooses the correct set of curves to display measured concentrations.

Type Calibration

Like optical emission, the Z also offers type calibrations. Choose any reference material, enter assays, and shoot it. The material is automatically stored as a type calibration standard and can be selected from a menu for testing materials.

Shown in the figure are intensity ratio calibration curves for several elements in low-alloy steels. The Z, like spark OES analyzers, uses the long-established approach of calibration curves based on intensity ratios to generate quantitative alloy chemistry. This method is far more robust than simple spectral fingerprint alloy ID used by other handheld LIBS analyzers.

Click on the chart image for a larger view.








The Calibration Engine for the Z

The Z frees you from factory-only calibrations. The Z includes our desktop/tablet software package ProfileBuilder.   ProfileBuilder allows users to modify or add elemental calibration curves, add or remove standards, and add additional elements for analysis. It offers “line finding” capability where a user may shoot an unknown sample and see what elements are likely present, and the optimal emissions lines, in order to define intensity ratios and build your own element calibrations, if desired.

ProfileBuilder also provides an array of spectral pre-processing tools including Savitzky-Golay smoothing, nth derivative to reduce baseline, and baseline subtraction. Users can quickly optimize spectral pre-processing on their materials by observing the effect on calibration curves in real time.

Profile Builder

No X-rays: Productive, Safe Testing for any Sample, by any User

Say goodbye to radiation badges, record keeping for usage and training and surprise regulatory inspections. The Z uses laser, not x-ray, therefore eliminating burdensome and costly regulatory compliance.

Forget those cumbersome X-ray testing stands. Operators can safely test small sample pieces by holding the material in front of the analyzer. There’s no x-rays, no safety hazard at all. There’s no exposure risk to your fingers or any body part. You do NOT need a test stand, an interlocked cover/shield. Simply grab the piece, hold it in flush to the analyzer window and pull the trigger. The Z does not require sample holders or shielding. Productivity increases when operators can test large or small materials seamlessly.