Encyclopedia of Lunar Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Brian Cudnik

Lunar Surface Composition from X-Ray Fluorescence Measurements

  • Shyama Narendranath
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-05546-6_131-1

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)

Moseley in 1913 showed that when pure substances are irradiated with X-rays, they produce new X-ray photons with an energy, characteristic of the substance. The incident X-ray photon has an energy greater than the energy of the bound electron of the atoms in the substance. It transfers its energy to an electron which escapes from the atom leaving a vacancy. The atom is now in an excited state because of the vacancy left by the electron. It returns to the ground state as an electron from a higher shell fills in the vacancy. In this process, the energy difference between the two atomic shells is carried away by a photon. This process is called X-ray fluorescence (XRF). This creates a vacancy in the higher shell which is filled by an electron in a still higher shell, and this is thus a cascading process. Since the energy difference between levels is unique to the atom which emits the photon, the energy of the X-ray photon identifies the atom which emitted it. The...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Space Research OrganizationBangaloreIndia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Nicolle E. B. Zellner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsAlbion CollegeAlbionUSA