Informing Spectroscopists for Over 40 Years


TXRF Workgroup: an alternative environment for scientific collaboration

Ramón Fernández-Ruiz

Total reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF) is a “Cinderella” technique: not widely known but with great potential. The author and other members of the TXRF Workgroup are making strenuous efforts both to spread the word about TXRF and to improve communication within the TXRF community. As Ramón points out, atomic absorption or plasma spectroscopies may be the “go to” techniques for many, but TXRF is worthy of consideration.

Article  |  Issue 31/1 (2019)
Photo of paper production in a paper mill

Following TOS will save you a lot of money (pun intended)

 Pentti Minkkinen, Kim H. Esbensen

Pentti Minkkinen and Kim Esbensen present case histories and examples all focusing on the potential for economic loss or gain—by following, or more importantly, by not following TOS.

Sampling Column  |  Issue 30/2 (2018)

Throwing light on corrosion inhibition

Malgorzata Kopec, Stuart B. Lyon, Brenda D. Rossenaar, Simon R. Gibbon, Antony N. Davies

Significant research is underway globally into both improving corrosion protection as well as removing chemicals of concern from existing corrosion protection coatings. This is because the cost of corrosion in developed economies has been consistently shown to lie in the range 2–4% of Gross National Product.

Tony Davies Column  |  Issue 30/1 (2018)

Recent trends in X-ray fluorescence spectrometry: precise investigation of nanomaterials

Manoj K. Tiwari

Nanomaterials find widespread applications in many fields of science and nanotechnology, especially as catalysts in the chemical, bio-nanotechnology, nano-electronics and pharmaceutical industries. Understanding the physical and chemical properties of nanoscale materials is important, not only because of the fascinating nature of the subject, but also due to their potential applicability in almost every branch of science and technology. Nanostructured materials offer interesting properties, because at the atomic or molecular scale, the physical properties of a material become size dependent due to the quantum confinement and surface states effects.

Article  |  Issue 30/1 (2018)
 Illustration of a thin film solar cell based on a CIGS [Cu(In,Ga)Se2] absorber layer

Qualifying calibration samples for advanced thin film materials characterisation

Cornelia Streeck, Thomas Wirth, Wolfgang Unger, Burkhard Beckhoff

In this article the question of the certification of calibration samples for the characterisation of advanced thin film materials is addressed within the framework of reliable process control or quality management purposes. Reference measurement techniques can be used in order to address the gap in appropriate certified reference materials (CRMs) for thin film analyses. They allow for qualifying out-of-production samples originating from an operating production line as calibration samples. As a template for this procedure, CIGS [Cu(In,Ga)Se2] layers, that are absorber layers for high efficiency thin-film solar cells, have been used for establishing and validating reference-free X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis and Auger-electron spectroscopy (AES) as reference measurement techniques.

Article  |  Issue 30/1 (2018)

Multimodal imaging of cells and tissues: all photons are welcome

David Perez-Guaita, Kamila Kochan, Anja Rüther, Phillip Heraud, Guillermo Quintas, Bayden Wood

Different spectroscopic techniques have been combined to provide additional and complementary information for decades. Increasingly, this is being expanded beyond just two techniques and may include spatial/imaging information as well. All of which bring their own challenges. In “Multimodal imaging of cells and tissues: all photons are welcome”, David Perez-Guaita, Kamila Kochana Anja Rüther, Phillip Heraud, Guillermo Quintas and Bayden Wood report an example of these new approaches. They look at the use of infrared, Raman and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopies to obtain combined imaging data of whole algal cells and discuss how to overcome the challenges.

Article  |  Issue 29/5 (2017)
Jars of honey

Total reflection X-ray fluorescence technique for multi-elemental analysis of food

Rogerta Dalipi, Laura Borgese, Eva Marguí, Emanuele Sangiorgi, Laura E. Depero

X-ray spectroscopy techniques have some advantages over other atomic spectroscopy techniques in the analysis of foods, for instance in not requiring significant sample preparation. Amongst these, TXRF has higher sensitivity and limits of detection in the ng range. The authors look at the analysis of a number of very different foods, including seafood, honey and vegetables.

Article  |  Issue 29/1 (2017)

Shedding light on medieval manuscripts

Catherine E. Nicholson, Andrew Beeby, Richard Gameson

It is not every issue that one of our articles starts with a quotation in medieval English, and it is appropriate as two of our articles cover the use of spectroscopy in cultural heritage. This is yet another field where the rich information provided by spectroscopy, along with its non-destructive nature (for many techniques), portability and ability to generate chemical images make it the answer to many questions. Kate Nicholson, Andrew Beeby and Richard Gameson are responsible for the medieval English at the start of their article “Shedding light on medieval manuscripts”. They describe the general use of Raman spectroscopy for the analysis of historical artefacts, and, in particular, their work on medieval European manuscripts and 18th century watercolour pigments. They stess the importance of checking the actual laser power density to avoid damage to priceless artefacts.

Article  |  Issue 28/4 (2016)

The application of Fourier transform infrared, near infrared and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to soil analysis

A.H. Jean Robertson, Charles Shand, Estefania Perez-Fernandez

Once again developments in portable instruments lead to greater ease of use and the ability to measure far more samples. They describe the application of FT-IR, NIR and XRF spectroscopies to the development of the National Soils Inventory of Scotland, and their work in developing the use of handheld instruments, particularly FT-IR spectrometers.

Article  |  Issue 28/4 (2016)

Spectroscopic evidences to understand the influence of marine environments on Built Heritage

Héctor Morillas, Maite Maguregui, Juan Manuel Madariaga

This article looks at the use of Raman and XRF spectroscopies to investigate the different deterioration processes caused by marine aerosols. These techniques can detect the decay compounds and the original composition of the different materials from historical buildings close to the sea, which can then be used to explain the reactions that take place on them. This helps in the development of remedial actions and preventive conservation strategies for historical buildings.

Article  |  Issue 28/3 (2016)

Synchrotron-based micro Fourier transform infrared mapping to investigate the spatial distribution of amorphous and crystalline calcium carbonate in earthworm-secreted calcium carbonate balls

Mark E. Hodson, Liane G. Benning, Gianfelice Cinque, Bea Demarchi, Mark Frogley, Kirsty E.H. Penkman, Juan D. Rodriguez-Blanco, Paul F. Schofield, Emma A.A. Versteegh, Katia Wehbe

Several earthworm species secrete very small granules of calcium carbonate, and the authors think these are involved in pH regulation. These granules contain different polymorphs of calcium carbonate, including the amorphous form which is very unstable in the laboratory. To investigate this they have FT-IR spectroscopy and mapping, and are continuing this work with Ca XANES.

Article  |  Issue 28/3 (2016)

X-ray fluorescence for cultural heritage: scanning biochemical fingerprints in archaeological shipwrecks

Yvonne Fors, Håkan Grudd, Anders Rindby, Lennart Bornmalm

Yvonne Fors, Håkan Grudd, Anders Rindby and Lennart Bornmalm tell us about “X-ray fluorescence for cultural heritage: scanning biochemical fingerprints in archaeological shipwrecks”. Two outstanding examples of the preservation of wood are the warships Vasa, in Stockholm and the Mary Rose in Portsmouth and this article looks at the role XRF has played in the preservation of the wood of both ships.

Article  |  Issue 27/1 (2015)

Determination of elemental distribution or heterogeneity by X-ray fluorescence

Christopher Shaffer, Didier Bonvin

Another area of application of XRF, “Determination of elemental distribution or heterogeneity by X-ray fluorescence”, is considered by Christopher Shaffer and Didier Bonvin. The ability of modern X-ray spectrometers to perform small spot analysis as well as mapping has opened up new applications in non-homogeneous samples. The authors show applications in metals, precious alloys as well as rocks.

Article  |  Issue 26/3 (2014)

Strategies for ambient aerosols characterisation using synchrotron X-ray fluorescence: a review

Ursula E.A. Fittschen

Knowledge about the particles in the air is important because of their effect on our health and their impact on our climate through cloud formation and transport of nutrients into the oceans. Ursula Fittschen describes “Strategies for ambient aerosols characterisation using synchrotron X-ray fluorescence: a review”. This technique can provide elemental determination and speciation of aerosol particulates with limits of detection in the pg m–3 range for many elements.

Article  |  Issue 26/3 (2014)

Determination of trace element concentrations in ambient aerosols by synchrotron radiation-induced X-ray fluorescence spectrometry

Markus Furger, Suzanne Visser

Both the size and chemical composition of airborne particles have an effect on human health. Whilst the effects of size have been much studied,  many of the toxic chemicals in particles are at very low concentration and have been less studied. Monitoring their composition and concentration over time helps to determine their source. Synchrotron radiation-induced XRF spectrometry proves to be a good tool for this purpose.

Article  |  Issue 25/3 (2013)

Time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy

C.J. Milne, M. Chergui

How a cat manages to turn and land on its feet may not be the most obvious start to an article in Spectroscopy Europe. However, C.J. Milne and M. Chergui use the example in their article on “Time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy” to show how the time dimension is important in many analyses and applications. There has been a real surge in time-resolved X-ray absorption studies in chemistry, biology and materials science. Picosecond time resolution is routinely achieved and femtosecond resolution has been demonstrated at synchrotrons, albeit at the cost of a significantly reduced photon flux. However, the advent of hard X-ray-free electron lasers offer the promise of making such studies routine.

Article  |  Issue 24/5 (2012)

Local vs global climate change: investigation of dust from deep ice cores

A. Marcelli, D. Hampai, G. Cibin, V. Maggi

The study of dust particles in our atmosphere is important since they can act as a suppresor of global warming. The analysis of historical levels of dust in the atmosphere through ice cores is vital in this work. Synchrotron-radiation spectroscopic techniques such as TXRF and XANES can be used to analyse extremely small amounts of dust.

Article  |  Issue 24/3 (2012)

Fireworks: composition and chemistry through Raman spectroscopy and SEM-EDS imaging

Kepa Castro, Silvia Fdez-Ortiz de Vallejuelo, Juan Manuel Madariaga

Whilst fireworks are a great entertainment, they can also be used for illegal activities as well as potentially containing dangerous chemicals. The combination of Raman spectroscopy and SEM-EDS turns out to be a very efficient analytical method. In fact, these complementary techniques may also be used to analyse other kinds of pyrotechnic artefacts, low explosive formulations, high explosives, explosion residues etc.

Article  |  Issue 24/3 (2012)

X-ray spectrometry analysis of welding fumes

James A. Hurst,, John A. Volpato, Gregory E. O’Donnell

Industrial environments pose potentially hazardous situations whereby workers may be exposed to various airborne toxic elements in their breathing zone. One of the main aerosol fractions of interest is welding fume, which can be determined with XRF spectrometry.

Article  |  Issue 23/5 (2011)

The use of complementary techniques in understanding the detoxification of aluminium in the freshwater snail, Lymnaea stagnalis

Rachel C. Walton, Catherine R. McCrohan , Keith N. White

The authors describe the use of a range of complementary methods to explore cellular, physiological and behavioural mechanisms underlying Al accumulation and toxicity, and its eventual fate, using the pond snail as a model organism.

Article  |  Issue 23/1 (2011)