During the past several years, a number of analyzing crystals have been prepared in the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Research Laboratories. Crystals such as alkaline acid malonates, sucrose, pentaerythritol (PET), and several others have been grown with the sole purpose of application in X-ray fluorescence analysis of silicon, aluminum, and other elements of low atomic number. Crystals from natural sources, such as quartz, mica, and gypsum, have also been procured from different parts of the world for this purpose.
Among the analyzing crystals so prepared, pentaerythritol gave the highest count rate for silicon and aluminum. However, since this crystal is organic in nature, great care must be exercised in handling this type of crystal in order to obtain constant count rates. For the analysis of silicon and aluminum, a-quartz crystal gave a somewhat low count rate, but this crystal has certain advantages over the organic crystals, and can be used for analysis of materials having high silicon and aluminum content.
For instance, when using a conventional X-ray emission vacuum spectrograph of standard make, with the latest alterations, one of the PET crystals attained a count rate of 101,870 cps for pure silicon when the instrument was operated at 60 kVP and SO m A with a negligible background count. With a constant potential attachment and operated at 60 kVP and 34 mA, 1.15,600 cps with negligible background count was obtained for silicon. The count rate for aluminum was of the same order of magnitude with somewhat higher background count.
Several sets of standards have been procured and small amounts of silicon and aluminum in these standards have been analyzed by the latest modified vacuum spectrograph. These results are under study and the limit of detection calculated. Procedures and results are described and discussed.