Elemental analysis techniques experience interferences that must be corrected or compensated for in order to achieve adequate analytical results. In XRF Spectrometry, the primary interference is from other specific elements in a substance that can influence (matrix effects) the analysis of the element(s) of interest. However, these interferences are well known and documented; and, instrumentation advancements and mathematical corrections in the system’s software easily and quickly correct for them. In certain cases, the geometry of the sample can affect XRF analysis, but this is easily compensated for by selecting the optimum sampling area, grinding or polishing the sample, or by pressing a pellet.
XRF Spectrometry uses Empirical Methods (calibration curves using standards similar in property to the unknown) or Fundamental Parameters (FP) to arrive at quantitative elemental analysis. FP is preferred because it allows elemental analysis to be performed without standards or calibration curves. This enables the analyst to use the system immediately, without having to spend additional time setting up individual calibration curves for the various elements and materials of interest. FP, accompanied by stored libraries of known materials, determines not only the elemental composition of an unknown material quickly and easily, but can identify unknown material as well.