Determination of gold leaf thickness using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry: Accuracy comparison using analytical methodology and Monte Carlo simulations.


LIBPhys-UNL - Laboratório de Instrumentação, Engenharia Biomédica e Física da Radiação, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2829-516, Caparica, Portugal. Electronic address: [Email]


In this work, we compared the accuracy of gold leaves thickness determination using X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) setups for different X-ray excitation sources. The sources used consisted on: a) direct Bremsstrahlung from an Amptek Mini-X X-ray tube with Rh target, b) partially monochromatized radiation of the same X-ray tube using combination of Al and Ag filters and, c) monochromatic radiation using secondary target, in a portable setup with triaxial geometry. The performance of the used setups was compared using model samples made with gold foil standard reference materials of known thicknesses (1, 2 and 2.5 μm). Thickness determination was based on the selective attenuation that the different energies of a given element of an under-layer undergo in the gilded layer. Ideally, as it can be expected from physics fundamentals, monochromatic radiation is needed for improved accuracy. However, considering the difficulties in using monochromatic radiation in portable instrumentation applicable in Cultural Heritage studies, filtered radiation can also be used for reliable results. Moreover, Monte Carlo simulations of the portable setup with conventional planar geometry were performed for comparison and for future application in more complex samples.


Cultural heritage,Gilding,Monte Carlo simulations,Thickness determination,XRF,