The Role of PIXE and XRF in Heritage Science: The INFN-CHNet LABEC Experience

Leandro Sottili, Lorenzo Giuntini, Anna Mazzinghi, Mirko Massi, Luca Carraresi, Lisa Castelli, Caroline Czelusniak, Francesca Giambi, Pier Andrea Mandò, Marco Manetti, Chiara Ruberto, Laura Guidorzi, Alessandro Re, Alessandro Lo Giudice, Rodrigo Torres, Francesco Arneodo, Simi Maria Emilia Mangani, Silvia Calusi, Francesco Taccetti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Analytical techniques play a fundamental role in heritage science. Among them, Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) techniques are widely used in many laboratories for elemental composition analysis. Although they are well-established, a strong effort is put on their upgrade, making them suitable for more and more applications. Over the years, at the INFN-LABEC (the laboratory of nuclear techniques for the environment and cultural heritage of the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics), the INFN-CHNet group, the network devoted to cultural heritage, has carried out many technological improvements to the PIXE and XRF setups for the analysis of works of art and archaeological finds. Among the many, we recall here the scanning external microbeam facility at the TANDEM accelerator and the MA-XRF scanner. The two instruments have shown complementary features: the former permits quantitative analysis of elements heavier than sodium, which is not possible with the latter in most of the case studies. On the contrary, the scanner has the undeniable advantage of portability, allowing it to work in situ. In this framework of technological developments in heritage science, INFN, CERN, and OPD are jointly carrying on the MACHINA (Movable Accelerator for Cultural Heritage In-situ Non-destructive Analysis) project for on-site Ion Beam Analysis (IBA) studies on cultural heritage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6585
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • IBA
  • MA-XRF
  • PIXE
  • heritage science
  • material analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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