X-Ray Fluorescence

Welcome to the X-Ray Fluorescence beamline!

X-Ray Fluorescence is a highly versatile beamline developed by Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste and operated in partnership with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The high-intensity, tuneable X-ray beam, coupled with the high resolving power of the crystal monochromators and with the motorized stages for sample and detectors movement offers the synergistic application of X-Ray Spectrometry, Spectroscopy and Reflectometry techniques.


  • CoViD19 update

Due to the pandemic, some experiments have been postponed. However, XRF is open an functional: do not hesitate to submit your proposals (next deadline: 15th of September 2021).

For any information, contact the beamline staff.


XRF Highlights / Publications

Shining X-rays on... shimmering gold?

One week of extraordinary brilliance at the XRF beamline: our UHV chamber was lighten up not only by X-rays, but also by the glittering gold of ancient coins. The XRF team, involved in a project by the University of Trieste, has studied a set of gold coins dating back to the III - IV century.

Thanks to the high sensitivity offered by the X-ray beam, the gold purity could be evaluated with high precision, providing fine details to describe the economic inflation during the Roman Empire.

Not only gold, but also trace elements were inspected: elements like Hg and Pb shed light on the processes that Romans used to obtain coins of extraordinary purity; while Pd and Pt are valuable elements to determine the mine location. Besides the precious metals, some attention was paid also to the incrustations found on the coins surface: thanks to 
the analysis of the elements found in such areas, the fate of the coins across the centuries will be unravelled.



Science at XRF: not only spectroscopy!

The intense X-ray source available at the beamline brings the elemental sensitivity and spatial resolution of the XRF technique to a brand new level, compared to the laboratory sources, lowering the detection limits down to the μg/g order!

The high resolving power of the crystal monochromators can be used for X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) both in the near-edge (XANES) and in the extended (EXAFS) regions, assessing the chemical speciation and coordination of the detected elements.

Thin films or multilayers? No problem! Motorized manipulators move samples and detectors (translation and rotation) in different excitation/detection geometries including X-Ray Reflectivity (XRR), Grazing Incidence/Exit XRF and XAS investigations.

The XRF beamline offers several complementary X-ray techniques in a single facilty:

  • Grazing-Incidence XRF (GIXRF) and GI-XANES: nano-layered structures or shallow dopants in semiconductors with nm depth resolution;
  • Total-reflection XRF (TXRF) and TXRF-XANES: elemental/chemical characterization of liquid samples residues or particulate matter samples;
  • 2D scanning XRF and XANES: chemical composition and speciation over different areas of the sample;
  • X-Ray Reflectometry (XRR): structural analysis (thickness, roughness, electron density) of thin films and multilayers
Research fields and applications

Thanks to the high adaptability to different samples and environments, the techniques available at the XRF beamline are well suited not only for fundamental science studies, but also for a variety of applied sciences.

Materials and surfaces

physical and chemical analysis;
high surface sensitivity and nm resolution;
ideal for thin films and multilayers.

Cultural heritage, archaeology and forensic

preventive conservation and archaeometry;
authenticity and elemental mapping;
suitable for inks, paintings, composite materials…

Biology, food safety, environmental and earth sciences

trace elements analysis;
pollutants/contaminants detection;
suitable for tissues, organisms, shells, liquids, air particulates, etc…

Users Area

Call for proposals

The next deadline for proposal submission will be on the 15th of September 2021 (h. 23:59 local time) for the user period starting from the 1st of January to the 30th of June 2022.


Proposal Submission

Collaborators and users are invited to contact the beamtime scientists well in advance the proposal submission deadline to discuss their proposals. This is of great importance to ensure the over whole feasibility of their experiments and a clear assessment of the technical requirements. In some cases, some test experiments can be organized. For more information, please visit the XRF beamline users' corner or the User Area.

Experimental chambers can be temporarily accommodated at the beamline to make use of the monochromatic beam (3.7-14 keV). For more information, please contact the beamline scientists.

Note that proposals can be submitted either via the Elettra Virtual User Office, or via the Way for Light portal.

Did you know?

Users from developing countries can benefit from IAEA technical support (proposal writing, data acquisition and analysis) for further information visit: www.iaea.org



Welcome to Gangadhar Das!

17.02.2021 - Our staff has just welcome a new PostDoc: Gangadhar Das has joined our team and will work on XRF and XAFS beamlines.

An "energetic" upgrade!

The commissioning of the InSb crystal monochromator is still ongoing but the first measurements have provided good results!
The energy range provided by this crystal pair extends between 2 and 3.7 keV. Stay tuned for the official "release"!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 July 2021 09:56