X-ray fluorescence (XRF) is the emission of characteristic “secondary” (or fluorescent) X-rays from a material that has been excited by bombarding with high-energy X-rays or gamma rays. The phenomenon is widely used for elemental analysis and chemical analysis, particularly in the investigation of metals, and for research in geochemistry, forensic science, archaeology and art objects such as paintings and murals.

When materials are exposed to short-wavelength X-rays or to gamma rays, ionization of their component atoms may take place. Ionization consists of the ejection of one or more electrons from the atom and may occur if the atom is exposed to radiation with an energy greater than its ionization potential. X-rays and gamma rays can be energetic enough to expel tightly held electrons from the inner orbitals of the atom. The removal of an electron in this way makes the electronic structure of the atom unstable, and electrons in higher orbitals “fall” into the lower orbital to fill the hole left behind. In falling, energy is released in the form of a photon, the energy of which is equal to the energy difference between the two orbitals involved. Thus, the material emits radiation, which has energy characteristic of the atoms present. The term fluorescence is applied to phenomena in which the absorption of radiation of a specific energy results in the re-emission of radiation of a different energy (generally lower).

XRF is an analytical strategy, non-destructive in nature, used to discover the elemental makeup of materials. A sample is assessed using XRF analyzers by measuring the secondary, or fluorescent, x-ray emitted from it once it becomes excited from a primary x-ray source. A sample is comprised of numerous elements, each of which produces its own signature fingerprint or unique set of fluorescent x-rays. Discovering these signatures is why the X-ray Fluorescence XRF is useful technology-based machinery for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of the composition of various materials.

Factors Affecting the Life of the XRF X-Ray Tube

The XRF x-ray tube is central to the fluorescence analyzer. Most of them have a life expectancy somewhere between four and six years. That is equivalent to between 10,000 and 30,000 hours of use. The XRF tube is a critical component and its lifetime is dependent on numerous factors.

Factors Influencing the life time of an XRF Tube

  • Inadequate Cooling Maintaining air intake vents and fans can help allow for adequate air intake to keep the tube cool.
  • Power levels: Low kV, high mA will stress filament and shorten life.

Why we are better –

Bench top XRF machines are designed to have a small footprint with little space inside. Our tubes incorporate a Mammoflex ® cable allowing for tight bend radius in tight spaces. Some applications require continuous x-ray operation – our tube is designed to operate at full power continuously, while efficiently transferring internal heat to the outside. Typical packaged tubes use a high voltage well to connect the high voltage cable. This is a common cause of arcing. We eliminated the high voltage well, and thereby reduce failures due to arcing. Our dielectric oil is conditioned with proprietary process, eliminating internal arcing.


Mini Focus Packaged X-Ray Tubes
These x-ray tubes have bronze packaging that provides both isolation and excellent thermal properties that enable continuous operation without compromise.


We are always happy to help or advise on your specific x-ray requirements—from general to technical questions we are happy to help.

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