Cesareo, Roberto and Ferretti, Marco and Gigante, Giovanni Ettore and Guida, G. and Moioli, Pietro and Ridolfi, Stefano and Roldán Garcia, Clodoaldo (2007) The use of a European coinage alloy to compare the detection limits of mobile XRF systems: a feasibility study. X-Ray Spectrometry, Vol. 36 (3), p. 167-172. eISSN 1097-4539. Article.
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The investigation of archaeological and historical materials makes use of techniques that, though borrowed from other fields of research and industrial production, frequently have to be ‘re-invented’ because of peculiar characteristics of the analysed objects. Artistic relevance, limited movability, compositional and structural heterogeneity radically change the experimental approach and often require ad hoc designed equipment. These considerations also apply to x-ray fluorescence, especially regarding mobile systems. The extensive development and use of mobile spectrometers has produced an extremely diversified context and created the need for common criteria to evaluate their performances as well as the advisability of a survey on the existing equipment. This paper shows the feasibility of such an idea through a demonstrative survey that was carried out among users of different mobile x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) systems in the areas of Rome, Italy and Valencia, Spain. The experimental protocol was based on measuring spectrometer detection limits with the single standard method. The standard was the 50 eurocent coin, whose alloy is made of 89% Cu, 5% Al, 5% Zn, 1% Sn; the large spread of the European currency guarantees maximum availability. The experimental data show that the use of different x-ray tubes and detectors results in detection limits that may differ from each other by a factor of 6 for Zn and almost 100 for Sn; despite the large number of variables that in principle affect the performance, it was observed that the high voltage of the x-ray tube is the most important parameter.
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