Differential PIXE of Multi-layered Auto Paint

Student Author(s)

Christina Sarosiek

Faculty Mentor(s)

Drs. Paul DeYoung and Graham Peaslee

Document Type


Event Date



Analysis of multi-layered samples can be time-consuming and destructive. Current processes use techniques to separate the paint and chemically dissolve each layer individually. Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) uses high-energy particle beams created by a particle accelerator to obtain a chemical analysis of a sample without destroying it. As the beam passes through the sample, it emits x-rays of various energies which correspond to different elements. Differential PIXE involves varying the beam energy so that it stops in each of the layers, emitting x-rays from only those layers in which the beam has passed through. With GeoPixe, our spectra peak fitting program, we are able to vary the thickness of each layer according to measurements taken from a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to get concentrations of each element in an individual layer. This new technique has been proven to be comprehensive and non-destructive in controlled samples and is proving its worth on weathered, non-controlled samples.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. PHY-0969058.

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