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A new x-ray spectrometer has been constructed which incorporates a novel large area, low capacitance Si(Li) detector and a low noise JFET (junction field effect transistor) preamplifier. The spectrometer operates at high count Tates without the conventional compromise in energy resolution. For example, at an amplifier peaking time of 1 p.sec and a throughput count rate of 145,000 counts sec-1, the energy resolution at 5.9 keV is 220 eV FWHM. Commercially available spectrometers utilizing conventional geometry Si(Li) detectors with areas equivalent to the new detector have resolutions on the order of 540 eV under the same conditions. Conventional x-ray spectrometers offering high energy resolution must employ detectors with areas one-tenth the size of the new LBL detector (20 mm2 compared with 200 mm2). However, even with the use of the smaller area detectors, the energy resolution of a commercial system is typically limited to approximately 300 eV (again, at 1 μsec and 5.9 keV) due to the noise of the commercially available JFET's. The new large area detector is useful in high count rate applications, but is also useful in the detection of weak photon signals, in which it is desirable to subtend as large an angle of the available photon flux as possible, while still maintaining excellent energy resolution. X-ray fluorescence data from die new spectrometer is shown in comparison to a commercially available system in the analysis of a dilute muhi-element material, and also in conjunction with high count rate synchrotron EXAFS applications.