Ion-Excited X-Ray Analysis of Environmental Samples

  • Thomas A. Cahill


Major advances in the application of accelerators to environmental analysis have occurred in the past four years, largely though not entirely based upon the detection of ion-excited x-rays by energy dispersive Si (Li) and Ge (Li) detectors. While these advances parallel other improvements made in the area of quantitative elemental analysis in the past decades (neutron activation analysis, mass spectroscopy, optical methods), it is important to realize that the information delivered to workers in the biological and physical sciences by these accelerator-based techniques is very different from anything normally available in the past. Ion-excited x-ray analysis (IXA) is capable of delivering to a user quantitative multi-elemental analyses for all elements heavier than about neon to good detection limits, parts per million (ppm), at an extremely low cost per element. For example, recent programs in aerosol analysis have been delivering positive elemental determinations in aerosol samples at $0.20 per element using IXA, while an optical method, atomic absorbtion analysis, costs about $20.00 per element for the same information.


Count Rate Environmental Sample Heavy Element Light Element Minimum Detectable Limit 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas A. Cahill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physics, Crocker Nuclear Laboratory, Institute of EcologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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