Whether you have a need to add new XRF standards or are simply looking to have an annual certification performed on your current standards, you may not be aware of what information is on an XRF standard and its certification documents.
Associates of Eastern Applied Research's in-house XRF standards laboratory developed the following brief overview of that information and are available to answer any additional questions, or concerns, that you may have.
XRF Standards: information on the piece
The majority of certified reference materials used with x-ray fluorescence analyzers will relate to coating thickness and composition of plated materials. Depending on the application, analyzer, and user preference, these standards will either be plated or foil pieces and the information on each piece will vary slightly (learn more: difference in plated and foil XRF standards).
Regardless of whether your XRF standards are plated or foil, each piece will have its serial number, material(s), and thickness value(s) clearly listed. If the only concern is thickness, then both styles will list that value in micro-inches and microns. However, if composition is involved, some foil pieces may only include one unit of measurement plus the percentage of one constituent.
Since plated XRF standards are material that is actually plated at various thicknesses on a base, the calibration standards will note what the exact application is (Cu/Fe in our example). In addition to pieces of the actual plated thickness, it will also include infinite pieces for any materials involved - both thickness layers along with the base material. Since the plating and base materials won't change, plated reference standards will typically come as a plated set and include the entire range of their application mounted on a holding unit.
Foils are simply single pieces of a various material so they can be switched out as various applications require. So, while plated standards have multiple metals involved and are commonly provided in a 'plated set', foil standards are a single layer of material represented on an individual 'foil piece'. Users will have various foil pieces, marked accordingly, and various bases to mix and match as applications require.
Learn More: difference between XRF standards for coating thickness
Certification Paperwork: More important than the information on the XRF standards is what is on the certification that comes with them. This document can be critical to an organization maintaining accreditation and in customer audits. The Eastern Applied Research standards laboratory and quality department maintain our Accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO/IEC 17034 and provides accredited certifications when appropriate.
The XRF Standards certification document lists information about the user facility, the specific order, and details of the standards involved (serial number, material). From there, the certification document lists the final certified values and uncertainties while also documenting the incoming marked and measured values involved in the materials.
The next section of information on the certification includes an overview of Eastern Applied (or the certifying organization), the XRF analyzer used to perform the certification service, traceability notes, and environmental conditions of the laboratory.
Of course, the certification closes with the service date and future expiration date. In addition to use during audits, this document can be referred to if a facility has questions about the performance of an XRF analyzer or reference materials.
Questions? The Eastern Applied Research laboratory staff hopes that this provides a helpful overview of the information you receive with XRF standards.