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Energy (ED) vs wavelength (WD) dispersive fluorescence - Battle of evolution

By Scott Gilroy, Regional Product Manager for X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometers within Asia Pacific

I am often asked the very simple question – “which is better wavelength or energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence?”. Several years ago the answer was pretty simple, wavelength dispersive. However, today we see the picture not just in black and white, but also in many shades of grey.

The reason for the change is the evolution of technology. Whilst wavelength dispersive has improved over the years, it has not seen the leaps and bounds of technology change that has occurred in the ED field. A clear example of the change is the move from proportional detectors with resolution at ~ 800 eV down through to impressive silicon drift detectors at ~ 135 eV.

The challenge that is now faced, is not which is better, but rather which technology works for my situation. The choice comes down to your sample type, number of samples, elements in the sample and the analysis accuracy and detection. Even with this information it can be a blended answer.

Just look at iron ore analysis in fused beads. The standard rule was: for high throughput and analysis of light elements (Na-Cl) you need to choose the wavelength, and of course the converse held true (small numbers and heavy elements go for energy dispersive). Today, it is different: analysis of silicon, iron, zinc, titanium can all better be done on an energy dispersive system.

Challenge convention when looking at your analysis. What used to be the standard rules no longer apply. It’s the time to re-evaluate your thinking and look at all the possibilities that have evolved...

Interested to learn more? Visit PANalytical’s upcoming complimentary seminar on 5th August in Bangkok, where as the key speaker, I will in my presentation be touching on the savings, precision and quality analysis when you switch to analysis using XRF technology. Click below for more details on the topics, program and point of contact for registration. We invite you to drop by, listen and network.


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Related Webinar:Superior XRF analysis with combined WD and ED

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