Niobium is commonly alloyed with uranium to prevent surface oxidation, and determining how the niobium concentration is distributed throughout a sample is useful in explaining observed material properties.
The niobium concentration distribution was determined across the surface of depleted uranium samples using micro-X-ray fluorescence (MXRF). To date, MXRF has been employed primarily as a qualitative tool
for determining relative differences in elemental concentrations across a sample surface. Here, a process was developed to convert qualitative MXRF niobium distribution images from depleted uranium samples
into images displaying concentration values. Thus, MXRF was utilized to determine elemental concentrations across a surface in a manner similar to that of the established method of electron microprobe X-ray
analysis (EMPA). However, MXRF can provide such information from relatively large sample areas many cm2 in size that are too large to examine by the higher spatial resolution technique of EMPA.
Although the sample surfaces were polished to the same degree as the standards, little or no sample preparation should be necessary for sample systems where a high energy analyte XRF line can be used for
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