Diffix: Advanced portable XRD/XRF for Cultural Heritage


Advanced portable XRD/XRF for Cultural Heritage

DiffiX is an X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) instrument designed for scientists seeking the ultimate performance and flexibility of
use. DiffiX offers a modular platform on which the user can install a number of XRD and XRF detectors. DiffiX is intended to be directly deployed on the object, in the field, in the museum or in the laboratory.

DiffiX prototype in Fitwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK, coll. P. Ricciardi et al.

During an analysis, DiffiX is held In fixed position in front of the object using a robust commercial photographic mount or a range of specialty mounts offered by eXaminArt. DiffiX features an embedded miniature camera, lighting and laser of alignment on the sample.
At the heart of DiffiX, a state-of-the-art compact X-ray beam delivery system combines an air-cooled microfocus X-ray tube and a multilayer focusing optic. It illuminates a small spot on the object with an intense low divergence monochromatic beam (default Cu Kα).
The XRD signal is collected by a detector chosen from a range of options available: 2D imaging plate (IP) with external scanner, 1D hybrid strip detector, 2D hybrid detector, CCD detector. When 2D detectors are used, a conventional XRD pattern is computed by circumferential integration of the diffraction rings.
XRF signal is collected by a Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) in proximity of the spot illuminated. Monochromatic Cu excitation provides precise quantitative chemical composition for elements Al to Co (K lines) and Br to U (L and M lines).

Example of analysis of Andrea del Sarto’s painting Sacra Famiglia Barberini,c. 1528-1529. Galleria nazionale d'arte antica (Palazzo Barberini), Roma (Inv. 2332)

Primary partners

  • CNRS – Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France)
  • LAMS – Laboratoire d’Archéologie Moléculaire et Structurale (France)