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Elemental Analysis Unit

Total reflection X Ray Fluorescence Laboratory (TXRF)

TXRF 8030c - FEI Spectrometer TXRF 8030c - FEI Spectrometer

Total reflection X-Ray Fluorescence (TXRF) is based on the study of X-ray fluorescence emission induced by the excitation of the atoms of a sample by an X-ray source.


Basics of the technique

The atoms in the sample are excited so that the inner shell electrons are promoted to higher energy levels or ejected out of its atomic orbital. The other layers electrons minimize their energy occupying the electronic holes that remaining free. So, the energies associated with these electronic transitions are re-emitted as photons.
Therefore this fluorescence emission or secondary radiation is a fingerprint for a given element present in the sample, its intensity being proportional to the amount of element in the sample. The final result is an energy dispersion spectrum where all emissions from the present elements in the sample are simultaneously recorded. The location of the intensity maxima in the spectrum identifies each element (Qualitative analysis) and the integration of each elemental line profile gives their relative amount in the sample, which may be converted into absolute values by the use of an internal standard previously added to the sample (Quantitative analysis).


TXRF is able to simultaneously analyze in a qualitative and quantitative fashion up to 75 elements between Si(Z=14) and U (Z=92) with a dynamic range of 105 from major components (%wt) and trace levels (ppb). Samples for TXRF may be liquid or ground or suspended solids, the latter requiring sometimes previous acid digestion. TXRF measurements are free from matrix or memory effects. TXRF is a microanalytic technique since the amount required to perform a qualitative and mass proportion analysis is in the range of microlitres (µL) or micrograms (µg). For a conventional quantitative analysis the minimum recommended amount is 1 mL or 10 mg of liquid or solid sample respectively.

Some of its main applications are as follows:

• Environment: water, sediments, soils, aerosols, filters.
• Structural characterization of material: alloys, catalysts, ceramics, new materials
• Biological Analysis: tissues, fluids, plants, crops.
• Biochemical Analysis
• Geological Analysis
• Metallurgical Analysis
• Microbiological Analysis.

Operation of the laboratory
  • Solid samples must be submitted highly grinded (less than 10 microns diameter).
  • Liquid samples should be freshly prepared and should be transported in suitable vials.
  • Samples must be accompanied by the application generated by @LIMS. The user must complete all the fields of the application in order to obtain the best result.
  • One application must be completed for each batch of samples with similar characteristics.
  • It is recommended to contact with the laboratory before sending samples, phone 91497858, if the study to perform presents unusual analytical or technical difficulties.

Laboratory staff and Contact



Cantoblanco Campus


Electronic mail:
E-mail of TXRF laboratory
Phone: 91 497 8581
Fax: 91 497 3529


Laboratory Technical Manager
Ramón Fernández Ruiz
E-mail of Ramón Fernández Ruiz


María Jesús Redrejo Rodríguez
E-mail of María Jesús Redrejo Rodríguez
Eberhardt Josué Friedrich Kernahan
E-mail of Eberhardt Josué Friedrich Kernahan


Cambia a español
Elemental Analysis Unit
Servicio Interdepartamental de Investigación
Total reflection X-Ray Fluorescence Laboratory in the Red de Laboratorios of the Comunidad de Madrid. External link Open a new window.
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