Application Brief

Analysis of Soil and Sewage Sludge in the Field with a Portable ED-XRF Spectrometer

Arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, silver, and zinc are among the many contaminants that enter the environment through industrial, agricultural, other human activities and sometimes through natural causes. Addressing a contaminated site first requires identifying the contaminating elements and then determining the amounts that are present. Then a course of action can be prescribed for cleaning, removing, or isolating the affected areas.

Determining the best course of action naturally requires detailed and precise information and this work has traditionally has been done in a laboratory. But ferrying samples back and forth to a laboratory can add considerable time and cost to the remediation process. Today however, astonishing improvements in portable energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (ED-XRF) spectrometers enable environmental professionals to rapidly characterize samples in remote areas with minimal preparation and with very high accuracy of analysis.

This paper explains the advantages of using ED-XRF spectrometers in the field versus traditional analytical methods and provides examples of their analytical performance.

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