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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

X-ray Microanalysis of Precious Metal Thin Films: Thickness and Composition Determination

Dipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Firenze, via della Lastruccia 3, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche—Istituto di Chimica dei Composti OrganoMetallici (CNR-ICCOM), via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Coatings 2018, 8(2), 84;
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 February 2018 / Published: 24 February 2018
PDF [2080 KB, uploaded 24 February 2018]


Measuring the thickness and the composition of precious metal thin films is a challenging task. Currently, the available techniques for thickness measurements are either destructive or need heavy assumptions on the nature of the sample, relying on information that are not always available with sufficient accuracy. In this paper we propose a new methodology based on X-ray microanalysis that can complement, with better lateral resolution, the use of X-ray Fluorescence, the most widely employed technique for measuring the thickness of electrodeposited coatings. The proposed method employs a combination of energy dispersive microanalysis spectra acquisition and Monte Carlo simulation. The effectiveness of the technique has been demonstrated by the measure of the thickness and the composition of a thin 24 kt gold electroplated film that contained small amount of nickel. Results have been validated by comparing data with those obtained by X-ray fluorescence and the scanning electron microscopy of metallographic cross-sections. View Full-Text
Keywords: EDX; thin film; simulation; electrodeposition EDX; thin film; simulation; electrodeposition

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Giurlani, W.; Innocenti, M.; Lavacchi, A. X-ray Microanalysis of Precious Metal Thin Films: Thickness and Composition Determination. Coatings 2018, 8, 84.

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