, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 207-217

Analytical use of proton-induced X-ray emission

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Abstract

Proton-induced X-ray emission, PIXE, is capable of simultaneous quantitative determination of 10–15 elements. An introduction to the physical properties of the method is given and detection limits are shown for a routine analysis of a thin aerosol sample. Examples of applications to both thick and thin samples are presented. Human tooth dentine is analysed for lead, with simple sample preparation, indicating lead values of a few ppm for Swedish children. Quantitative analyses of several other elements are obtained simultaneously. Cascade impactors are used for sampling aerosols in work environment during welding operations giving information of size distribution and concentrations of the elements present. The aerosol is dominated by particle sizes between 0.5 and 2 μm as measured by the impactor, but the size distributions are different for different elements and welding techniques and depend on the distance from the welding source. The relative abundance of the elements found in the aerosol indicates the presence of fractionation mechanisms.