Standard Article

X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopic Analysis of Liquid Environmental Samples

Environment: Water and Waste

  1. Philip A. Russell

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0885

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Russell, P. A. 2006. X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopic Analysis of Liquid Environmental Samples. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Oxford Instruments, Oxford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry is an instrumental technique used for multielement analysis. It is one of only three techniques available to the modern analyst, the others being mass spectrometry and optical emission spectroscopy, the latter usually being the inductively coupled plasma (ICP) variant. The determination of environmental sensitive elements in the range P–U in aqueous and/or organic matrices provides challenges to all multielement techniques. With recent improvements in instrumentation and methods design (simplified sample preparation compared with other techniques), XRF, in particular for highly contaminated liquid waste, is becoming the preferred technique. XRF is shown to give the most cost effective and best overall speed of analysis across a range of diverse matrix types. Potable drinking water to highly toxic industrial sludge/waste can be analyzed for either precise ultralow level (parts per billion) or screening purposes, respectively. Energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) has provided the best all-round performance with the introduction of dedicated instruments and standard methods for the analysis of environmentally sensitive elements in all forms of liquid matrices.