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The abbreviation PIXE stands for induced particle X-ray Emission or Proton Induced X-ray Emission ( P article- I nduced X -ray E mission or Proton Induced X-ray Emission ), and is a common method of ion beam analysis.

In the PIXE method, the sample is examined with an ion beam . When passing through the sample, the ions lose energy mainly through interaction with the electron shell. The particles also collide with electrons from the inner shells . This knocks them out of the atomic shell. As a result, the now ionized atoms can be de-excited by characteristic X-rays . This is used in the PIXE method to determine the element concentration.

The method itself is suitable for heavy elements ( ordinal numbers Z> 12… 20) and, compared to other X-ray methods, has a significantly lower bremsstrahlung background . This also makes it possible to analyze trace elements.

For light elements, the competing Auger effect greatly reduces the characteristic X-ray emission. In addition, light atoms emit low-energy X-rays. This is already attenuated to a relatively large extent in front of the detector by foils which, among other things, serve to absorb the backscattered ions and can therefore not be detected or only poorly.

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