Spectra comparison: Si and SiO2 normalized to the same primary peak height
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Figure 1. Spectra comparison: Si and SiO2 normalized to the same primary peak height.
Proton-induced x-ray emission (PIXE) was used to assess the accuracy of the National Institute of Standards and Technology XCOM and FFAST photo-ionization cross-section databases in the low energy region (1–2 keV) for light elements. Characteristic x-ray yields generated in thick samples of Mg, Al and Si in elemental and oxide form, were compared to fundamental parameters computations of the expected x-ray yields; the database for this computation included XCOM attenuation coefficients. The resultant PIXE instrumental efficiency constant was found to differ by 4–6% between each element and its oxide. This discrepancy was traced to use of the XCOM Hartree–Slater photo-electric cross-sections. Substitution of the FFAST Hartree–Slater cross-sections reduced the effect. This suggests that for 1–2 keV x-rays in light element absorbers, the FFAST predictions of the photo-electric cross-sections are more accurate than the XCOM values.