X-ray Fluorescence (XRF)
A technique used to determine the elemental composition of a specimen by bombarding the material with x-rays. The x-rays excite the atoms in the specimen, causing them to emit x-rays of a longer wavelength. These are detected by the analytical equipment, and on the basis of comparison with known standards, the elemental composition of the specimen is determined. X-ray fluorescence can be especially valuable because it can be used as an aid in identifying materials that are not crystalline and thus cannot be identified by x-ray diffraction.