How to Handle Spectral Overlaps with X-ray Fluorescence

A  popular application of Quickshot XRF analyzers is RoHS screening (important to note that they are used as a ‘screening’ device) and one question that comes up from time to time is about the potential of overlapping spectral peaks.  It is possible that an XRF analyzer will have two elemental peaks that overlap and this may result in mis-identification of the elements of interest.

However, these situations can easily be remedied with x-ray fluorescence systems like the desktop QSX-82D and some experience.  As shown in Image 1 (below), each element shows a K-alpha and K-beta spectral line with ED-XRF technology (highlighted here by Cadmium Ka and Kb).  When results are questionable, or when testing a sample for the first time, we would suggest the operator evaluate the spectrum of the sample.  The problem would be obvious and the operator can simply change one of the elements identifying energy lines to K beta and the second to K alpha.

Of course, a system with improved detector tube performance and resolution capabilities will be able to identify more defined spectral peaks (read SiPIN vs SDD).  This will make it a more straightforward task for the system, and operator, to appropriately identify elements because spectrums that overlap with one detector may not with another detector.

This is a quick summary but the approach would result in proper identification and greater assurance of elements present.  The Quickshot XRF desktop analyzer for RoHS testing shows the spectrums color coded and marked on the main screen.  If an XRF system doesn’t, then you should re-evaluate the analyzers that you are considering for RoHS screening.

Have a question about XRF Technology?  Contact a Quickshot XRF associate to discuss the question and answer!

2013: Upcoming Announcements

QSX Instruments Inc. is excited to begin another year offering high performing x-ray fluorescence technology for targeted application interests.  One of our yearly goals is continued growth and we were able to achieve that again in 2012 thanks to a growing reputation of the excellent performance that our analyzer line offers.

Quickshot XRF AnnouncementsWe exceeded our goals by focusing on solving gold testing needs with accurate bench-top XRF analyzers along with providing multiple analyzer options for the detection of hazardous substances (RoHS, Prop-65, etc).  While anchored by our ‘classic’ systems, two new analyzer releases contributed to our growth by expanding the options we can offer – the QSX-295Tplus for high-end precious metal assay and the popular QSX-82D for in-house RoHS screening needs.

We look forward to continued growth in 2013 and two announcements that are on the horizon will play integral parts in achieving that goal.  Formal information will be released later this month, but new developments from Quickshot XRF include:

New Handheld XRF Model:
While it is already being used by some clients, the much anticipated new handheld model (QSX-HH2) will be officially released later this month.  The system features Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) technology and software package that make it a top option for elemental analysis.  We anticipate it will find a role in positive material identification and RoHS screening testing.

West Coast Sales Representatives:
A second announcement will highlight the addition of West Coast sales agents.  These experienced representatives bring a wealth of knowledge in mining applications, hazardous substance related testing, and positive material identification needs.

Look for expanded information in the near future but feel free to contact QSX Instruments today for information on these developments.  We hope you had an eventful 2012 and achieve your goals in 2013!

Testimonial: Benefits of Quickshot XRF for Gold Testing

For several years, buyers of precious metals have had an interest in x-ray fluorescence technology because of the benefits of accuracy and speed that a quality XRF analyzer will offer.  However, until a few years ago, the cost of the technology limited it to large refiners and buy-back operations.  Recent developments in XRF technology have lead to a decreased cost of acquisition while maintaining a high level of accuracy in precious metal assay so that gold buyers of all sizes can potentially add the technology to incease long-term profits.   Systems like the QSX-79Tplus allow gold buyers of various sizes to see the benefits of the technology on the buying side as well as when working with their refiners.

A Quickshot XRF user located in Canada recently provided the following thoughts on his experience with the QSX Instruments Inc analyzer line.  This particular client is a jeweler that has purchased an increasingly large amount of scrap jewelry and dental scrap.  He chose the QSX-295T for the precision and speed that it can provide.

Gold Buyer Facility with Quickshot XRFstatement from the client:
We are very busy here and a good part of that business is due to the Quickshot XRF unit.  Having this device allows us to pay a higher percentage on the scrap gold we buy because we know exactly what we are buying.  No guessing means a better payout for clients.  Consequently, we have clients who will drive over a hundred miles to sell to us even though our competitors are in their own community.

We are currently buying two to three kg AGW of material every month.  That is remarkable when one considers the fact that we are in a community of 70,000.  It has been a little over a year since we purchased our Quickshot XRF and it has paid for itself several times over since then.  I could not imagine operating a business of this nature without one.

Have you already added a Quickshot XRF analyzer to help increase your gold buying business?  Tell us how it has affected your growth.  If you are still considering the technology, you can review more benefits of XRF here and contact a Quickshot XRF sales associate to discuss what is important to your consideration of x-ray fluorescence.

Gold Buyer Promotes X-ray Fluorescence to Sellers

A gold buyer out of Texas, Gracies Gold, is currently using a QSX-79Tplus as a loaner while they wait for delivery of another model.  This client has not wasted time promoting the use of X-ray Fluorescence to differentiate themselves from the competition.  On the company website, they have a page dedicated to explaining XRF Technology and the benefits it presents to their potential clients selling gold.

At Quickshot XRF, we often highlight the benefits that properly used XRF technology will provide to both the sellers and buyers of precious metals.  When considering the front end benefits of XRF, our clients consider the number of options that people selling gold have and ask themselves…how am I different from the other gold buyers?  Organizations that answer that question by investing in, and promoting, XRF analyzers develop a reputation for offering accurate, and honest, payouts – and reputation extends beyond a single transaction.

In addition to an improved reputation and seperation from the competition, gold buyers see additional benefits:
-  increased accuracy when paying out on scrap jewelry
-  full knowledge of the range of precious metals
-  protection against fraudulent pieces, bad buys
-  increased profits when reselling to refiners (knowledge of what is being handed over)

The question – how are you different than other gold buyers?
For an always increasing number of gold buyers, the answer is XRF accuracy.

Contact Quickshot XRF to discuss your gold buying business and to learn if XRF is a fit.

What’s the Benefit? Advancements in XRF Detector Technology

Xray Fluorescence SpectrumQSX Instruments Inc offers three x-ray fluorescence analyzers that feature the latest generation of detector technology – Silicon Drift Detection (SDD).  Two desktop models, the QSX-82D for RoHS testing and the QSX-295Tplus for precious metal assay, along with a soon to be released Handheld XRF (QSX-HH2) provide the newest technology.

Each of these systems has counterpart models that feature Si-PIN detector technology (or, they offer the option).  So, the question that many organizations considering XRF technology ask is “What are the benefits of SDD over Si-PIN?”.

Keep in mind that the detection system is one of the critical components in ED-XRF technology.  It collects the emitted energy that results from displaced electrons in the form of an x-ray before it can be processed by the software package.  The peak intensities of emitted x-rays are characteristic of the elements contained in the sample and provide information about the elements concentrations.  Detection systems are selected for an instrument based on their resolution, count rates, ability to filter out background, and the testing need the analyzer is being developed to solve.

Both Si-PIN and SDD operate without liquid nitrogen (LN2) and provide similar stability and life expectancies (typically 4-6 years with proper care).  The newer technology, SDD, provides two major benefits that are beneficial to certain application fields.

Major benefits of Silicon Drift Detectors:

Improved Resolutions: the typical resolution of Si-PIN systems is ~170-190eV while SDD will be around ~120-140eV.  The improvement from SDD results in better separation of elemental peaks which will potentially provide increased accuracies and elemental range (depending on the application).

Faster Measurement Times: as an example, for precious metal assay, the QSX-295T using Si-PIN technology will typically provide accuracies around +/- 0.5% to the absolute value of a sample with 30 or 60 second measurements.  The new QSX-295Tplus (with SDD) can offer +/- 0.25% to the absolute with only 10 to 20 second measurements.

So, is their a ‘negative’ to SDD systems?  While QSX Instruments offers the noted systems at a very competitive cost of acquisition, the price of XRF analyzers featuring SDD will always be greater than the counterpart Si-PIN models.  The cost/benefit analysis has to be considered on a per need basis.  As an example, companies using a handheld XRF for positive material identification will pay the difference because of the faster results SDD provides.  While organizations using the x-ray fluorescence for RoHS testing do not see enough of an improvement in detection limits or measurement times from SDD, so the Si-PIN technology may fit the budget better and meet the testing need.

The best system for your testing need is ultimately your organizations decision.  However, the QSX Instruments line can provide a variety of options and we provide the support required during your research and decision process…contact a Quickshot XRF sales associate for a discussion on the best fit for your application.