Portable X-ray fluorescence is a method of elemental analysis whose full potential has yet to be completely understood. The importance of the handheld pXRF analyzer is severalfold: it represents a non-destructive method of analysis that allows researchers to identify the elemental composition of surfaces without removing a sample or changing anything about a bone’s surface. This study tests the capacities of portable handheld x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (pXRF) as a means of qualitative, non-destructive analysis on bone in two sample populations. XRF analysis of nine modern samples and eighteen archaeological samples were taken to compare their elemental compositions in order to ascertain the capacities and limitations of pXRF analysis. The main elements of interest were heavy metals, specifically with a focus on lead. Based on the spectra collected from these readings, it is clear that differences in the elemental composition of human bone can be recognized using pXRF analysis.
See the full presentation here: