Technology developments have fundamentally changed the way elemental analysis can be performed. In the past elemental analysis techniques, like ICP and floor-standing wavelength dispersive X-ray fluorescence (WDXRF), were limited to central laboratories. Over the past two decades, the performance of smaller energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) analyzers have improved a lot, mainly due to the rapid development in electronics and detector technology. This has enabled benchtop XRF systems, like Malvern Panalytical’s Epsilon range, to perform norm-compliant analysis. It has become possible to bring elemental analysis towards the sample, decreasing feedback loops and enabling direct decisions.
Next to benchtops, XRF handhelds are often seen as a simple and affordable solution for quick and easy elemental analysis. Yes, they are easy to use, measurements are done fast, and the instruments are easy to carry out. However, as a user, your confidence in the accuracy of the measurements is critically important, which is for example hugely effected by the way the sample is presented to the instrument. Further, X-ray safety should be your top priority. Therefore, for many applications where analysis is moved into the field, a small benchtop, like the Epsilon 1, could be the right alternative to fulfill your application requirements.
I encourage people, who are interested in purchasing an XRF instrument, to make a well-informed decision before you spend your budget.