EPA Method 6200

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EPA Method 6200:
FIELD PORTABLE X-RAY FLUORESCENCE SPECTROMETRY FOR THE DETERMINATION OF ELEMENTAL CONCENTRATIONS IN SOIL AND SEDIMENT

Summary:
The FPXRF technologies described in this method use either sealed radioisotope sources or x-ray tubes to irradiate samples with x-rays. When a sample is irradiated with x-rays, the source x-rays may undergo either scattering or absorption by sample atoms. This latter process is known as the photoelectric effect. When an atom absorbs the source x-rays, the incident radiation dislodges electrons from the innermost shells of the atom, creating vacancies. The electron vacancies are filled by electrons cascading in from outer electron shells. Electrons in outer shells have higher energy states than inner shell electrons, and the outer shell electrons give off energy as they cascade down into the inner shell vacancies. This rearrangement of electrons results in emission of x-rays characteristic of the given atom. The emission of x-rays, in this manner, is termed x-ray fluorescence.

Scope:
This method is applicable to the in situ and intrusive analysis of the 26 analytes listed below for soil and sediment samples. Some common elements are not listed in this method because they are considered "light" elements that cannot be detected by field portable x-ray fluorescence (FPXRF). These light elements are: lithium, beryllium, sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silicon, and phosphorus. Most of the analytes listed below are of environmental concern, while a few others have interference effects or change the elemental composition of the matrix, affecting quantitation of the analytes of interest. Generally elements of atomic number 16 or greater can be detected and quantitated by FPXRF.

Report Number:
SW-846 Ch 3.3