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Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)


Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

XRF Technologies for Measuring Trace Elements in Soil and Sediment, Innov-X XT400 Series XRF Analyze
February 2006

The Innov-X XT400 Series (XT400) X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer was demonstrated under EPA’s Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation Program. The field portion of the demonstration was conducted in January 2005 at the Kennedy Athletic, Recreational, and Social Park at the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. The demonstration was designed to collect reliable performance and cost data for the XT400 analyzer and seven other commercially available XRF instruments for measuring trace elements in soil and sediment. The performance and cost data were evaluated to document the relative performance of each XRF instrument.

This innovative technology verification report describes the objectives and the results of the evaluation and serves to verify the performance and cost of the XT400 analyzer. Separate reports have been prepared for the other XRF instruments that were evaluated as part of the demonstration.

The objectives of the evaluation included determining each XRF instrument’s accuracy, precision, sample throughput, and tendency for matrix effects. To fulfill the objectives, the field demonstration incorporated the analysis of 326 prepared samples of soil and sediment that contained 13 target elements.

The prepared samples included blends of environmental samples from nine different collection sites, as well as spiked samples with certified element concentrations. Accuracy was assessed by comparing the XRF instrument’s results with data generated by a fixed laboratory (the reference laboratory). The reference laboratory performed element analysis, using:

  • Acid digestion and inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry in accordance with EPA Method 3050B/6010B
  • Cold vapor atomic absorption spectroscopy for mercury only, in accordance with EPA Method 7471A

The Innov-X XT400 portable XRF analyzer features a miniature, rugged X-ray tube excitation source for analyzing a wide variety of elements and sample materials, including alloys, environmental solids, and other analytical samples. The X-ray tube source and Light Element Analysis Program technology analyzes elements that would require three isotope sources in an isotope-based XRF analyzer.

Other features of the XT400 include:

  • Multiple X-ray beam filters
  • Multiple calibration methods
  • Adjustable tube voltages and currents

The analyzer weighs 4.5 pounds and can be powered in the field with a lithium-ion battery or 110-volt alternating current. The XT400 XRF analyzer uses a Hewlett-Packard iPAQ personal data assistant for data storage of up to 10,000 tests with spectra in its 64-megabyte memory. The iPAQ has a color, high-resolution display with variable backlighting and can be fitted with Bluetooth wireless printing and data downloading, an integrated barcode reader, and wireless data and file transfer accessories. The XT400 analyzer can analyze elements from potassium to uranium in suites of 25 elements simultaneously.

This report describes the results of the evaluation of the XT400 analyzer based on the data obtained during the demonstration. The method detection limits, accuracy, and precision of the instrument for each of the 13 target analytes are presented and discussed. The cost of element analysis using the XT400 analyzer is compared to both fixed laboratory costs and average XRF instrument costs.


Dr. Stephen Billets

Risk Mangement Research | Air and Climate Change Research | Water Research | Ecosystems Restoration Research | Land Risk Management Research | Technology: Sustainable Technologies Research, Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV), and Technology Assessments

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