Concord University’s Physical Sciences department completed a major upgrade to its XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) instrument for teaching and research. The upgrade was funded by grants totaling $55,000 from the American Electric Power Foundation and West Virginia Science and Research, a division of the Higher Education Policy Commission.

The XRF is an analytical microscope that allows students and researchers to identify and map the distribution of chemical elements in natural and man-made solid materials. “For example, you could determine if a soil sample was contaminated by heavy metals, if there was lead in paint chips, or to analyze the chemistry of anything from electronics and circuit boards to minerals, food, and pharmaceuticals,” stated Dr. Joseph Allen, Chair of the Department of Physical Sciences and author of the grant proposals.

In addition to faculty and student research, the instrument is used in several courses in chemistry and geology at Concord. The XRF is part of a larger microanalytical laboratory which includes an electron microprobe and associated sample preparation facilities. The upgrade simplifies operation of the instrument and allows the user to obtain higher-resolution data.

Originally from Sarah Pritchett for Concord University News