At-Line Analysis of Sulfur in Fuels Using ED-XRF Spectroscopy

August 18, 2015

Kleve, Germany — August 18, 2015 — A new application brief explaining how the use of ED-XRF spectroscopy for at-line analysis of sulfur in fuels can cut production delays from days to minutes is available to download from

Sulfur content is a key quality determinant for many petroleum products and the knowledge of the content of sulfur in fuels impacts processing and assists compliance with government regulations. Traditionally, the analysis of sulfur in fuels has been performed in the laboratory using XRF spectroscopy. However, the practice often results in production delays due to the time required to transport samples from the line to the laboratory as well as the time samples spend waiting in queue in the lab to be processed.

Now, a new generation of portable ED-XRF spectrometers is enabling rapid and accurate at-line analysis — right at the production line — for many applications requiring the detection of sulfur in fuels. According to the new application brief, "At-Line Analysis of Sulfur in Fuels According to ASTM D4294 Using ED-XRF Spectroscopy," with a portable ED-XRF spectrometer, at-line analysis can be performed once the sample is collected from any process point — and it fully conforms to the ASTM D4294 requirement for analysis time of 1 to 5 min per sample."

In addition to an introduction and discussion of the need for at-line QC, the new brief discusses the advances and advantages of portable ED-XRF technology for at-line analysis of sulfur in fuels. The brief also documents, in detail, the at-line analysis of a series of samples using a SPECTROSCOUT portable spectrometer equipped with a transmission target X-ray tube (Rh target), a filter changer, a helium purge system and a high resolution large area SDD. The resolution of the SDD used amounted to <155 eV (Mn Kα) at an input count rate of up to 200,000 cps. The results from the tests showed compliance with criteria set out in ASTM D4294.

The brief concludes with helpful guidance for the specification and selection of an at-line ED-XRF system, including factors to consider when comparing ED-XRF spectrometers — and notes the vast differences in instrument performance, ease of use, and suitability for the at-line analysis of sulfur in fuels.

Download the new brief, “At-Line Analysis of Sulfur in Fuels According to ASTM D4294 Using ED-XRF Spectroscopy,” from The brief is authored by SPECTRO Analytical Instruments, a leading global supplier of analytical instruments for optical emission and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry.


SPECTRO, a unit of the Materials Analysis Division of AMETEK, Inc., manufactures advanced instruments, develops the best solutions for elemental analysis for a broad range of applications, and provides exemplary customer service. SPECTRO’s products are known for their superior technical capabilities that deliver measureable benefits to the customer. From its foundation in 1979 until today, more than 30,000 analytical instruments have been delivered to customers around the world. AMETEK, Inc. is a leading global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical products with more than 15,000 colleagues at nearly 150 operating locations and sales and service operations in the United States and 30 other countries around the world.


Notes to Editors:
  • Press contacts: 
    • Germany: Tom Milner, Tel: +49-2821-8920
    • USA: Don Goncalves, Tel: +1-781-793-9380 or