A new substance analyzer has been developed by the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics and Automation in Moscow.

Its functionality is to automatically determine the content of up to 20 chemical elements in the periodic table between calcium and bismuth but in a package small enough to fit in a rucksack.

Basically it runs an X-ray generator over the surface of the core, stimulating all atoms of the specimen within a radius of slightly less than 2 centimeters. It will then independently measure “secondary” fluorescent radiation: the atoms stimulated by X-ray, when coming back to the quiescent state, exude excess energy in the form of radiation and the device records that radiation.

The analyzer will then calculate the results, store them and display them on a computer montitor.

It's also lightweight. The entire device is 12 kilograms, minus the PC to view the results.

It still has some limitations, such as inability to detect an element if the content is less than one hundredth of a percent. The cores also have to be manageable size - less than one meter - or they won't fit into the machine but it could be ideal for doing rough analysis in the field.

Its operating temperature range is also between minus 20 degrees C and plus 40 degrees C so it can't be taken everywhere but the power requirements, 12V battery or 22V alternating current, are very reasonable and it adds a lot of value for researchers who want to be able to do analyses without hauling samples to the lab.

Source: Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics and Automation