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Quantitative and Rapid Semi-quantitative Elemental Analysis


Non-distractive X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer in IMSERC is capable of analyzing as-synthesized liquid, solid, powder, and thin-film samples for both major and trace (ppm-level) components ranging from Sodium (light element) to Uranium (heavy elements). The analysis is rapid and usually sample preparation is minimal or not required at all. The XRF technique can be used for qualitative and semi-quantitative screening of reaction products without the need of laborious sample preparation and generation of hazardous waste associated with acid/base digestion of as-synthesized compounds.

Semi-quantitative analysis is a popular option for synthetic chemists where the determination of relative element concentrations between (or within) samples is necessary in situations where a calibration and/or samples of known concentrations do not exist. For example, two samples ‘A’ and ‘B’ contain Bi and Cu. One can easily tell with semi-quantitative analysis if sample ‘A’ has 5% more Bi than sample ‘B’ or determine the ratio of Bi:Cu in both samples. Quantitative elemental analysis requires standards. Please check out the list of other physical characterization services available in IMSERC.

Example of a semi-quantitative elemental analysis on an unknown sample using X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy


  • Halide determination (Chlorine, Bromine, Iodine) in solids or liquids using X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy
  • Survey of impurities and elements heavier than Sodium with X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy
  • Qualitative and semi-quantitative screening of unknown reaction products

Please visit our expanded list of application per research area for more details about this technique.

If you are interested in utilizing any of these applications for your research Start a project

Selected Publications

  • Characterization of drinking water treatment residuals
    The diversity of aluminum-based drinking water treatment residuals for use in environmental remediation
    Wallace, Samuel M.; Zhang, Yuchi; Zhou, Lang; Ma, Qing; Guise, William E.; Denslow, Nancy D.; Bonzongo, Jean-Claude; Gaillard, Jean-François [10.1039/d2ew00387b]