Dr. Robert Möckel
Department of Analytics

Phone: +49 351 260 - 4444

Doreen Ebert
Department of Analytics

Phone: +49 351 260 - 4742

X-ray Fluorescence Analysis (XRF)

X-ray Fluorescence Analysis is the principal method for all bulk chemical analyses of rocks at the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology.

Technical Specifications

  • XRF spectrometer type: AxiosmAX from PANalytical
  • X-ray source: Rh


  • Fast, quantitative measurement of major, minor and trace elements
  • Detection limits from 2x10-5 - 1x10-6 g/g (element and matrix dependent)

Sample Requirements

  • Samples need to be ground (< 63µm, sample preparation can be carried out at our institute)
  • Quantities: approximately 2g for the major element analysis (loss on ignition has to be determined) and approximately 10g for trace element analysis
  • Sample composition should be roughly known to avoid preparation errors (fused vs. pressed tablet)


  • Matrix dependent method
    • Calibration for silica rocks is available
    • Another measuring strategy, which is partly based on the fundamental parameter approach, can be used for very complex matrices
Röntgenfluoreszenzspektroskopie RFA-Gerät AxiosmAX der Firma PANalytical ©Copyright: Dr. Möckel, Robert

X-ray Fluorescence Analysis (XRD) device AxiosmAX from PANalytical, Photo: Robert Möckel

Pressed pellet and fused bead for XRF analysis ©Copyright: Dr. Möckel, Robert

Pressed pellet and fused bead for XRF analysis, Photo: Robert Möckel

Selected Publications ►
  • Buchmann, M.; Schach, E.; Tolosana-Delgado, R.; Leißner, T.; Astoveza, J.; Kern, M.; Möckel, R.; Ebert, D.; Rudolph, M.; van den Boogaart, K. G.
    "Evaluation of Magnetic Separation Efficiency on a Cassiterite-Bearing Skarn Ore by Means of Integrative SEM-Based Image and XRF–XRD Data Analysis", Minerals (2018)
    DOI-Link: 10.3390/min8090390
  • Rahfeld, A.; Wiehl, N.; Dreßler, S.; Möckel, R.; Gutzmer, J.
    "Major and Trace Element Geochemistry of the European Kupferschiefer – An Evaluation of Analytical Techniques", Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research (2018)
    DOI-Link: 10.1144/geochem2017-033
  • Uhlig, S.; Möckel, R.; Pleßow, A.
    "Quantitative analysis of sulfides and sulfates by WD-XRF: Capability and constraints", X-Ray Spectrometry (2016)
    DOI-Link: 10.1002/xrs.2679

How does it work? ►

Secondary X-rays are generated by bombarding a flat sample surface with primary high-energy X-ray. The secondary X-rays show the specific energy pattern of all chemical elements present in the sample. They are either determined by the energy itself or by the respective wavelength. Our PANalytical AxiosmAX spectrometer is a wavelength discriminating device, in which certain wavelengths are separated by diffracting crystals (see picture) and associated to a certain element. The concentration of the element of interest can be recalculated from a calibration.

Prinzip der Röntgenfluoreszenzanalyse
X-Ray fluorescence analysis principle
Photo: Brucker AXS S8 Tiger Information Brochure