Loose-powder technique for X-ray fluorescence analysis of ancient pottery using a small (100mg) powdered sample

Shintaro Ichikawa, Kenichi Nakayama, Toshihiro Nakamura

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19 Citations (Scopus)


A molded-loose-powder technique using a small powdered sample (100mg) was developed for the X-ray fluorescence analysis of 22 components (Na2O, MgO, Al2O3, SiO2, P2O5, K2O, CaO, TiO2, MnO, Fe2O3, V, Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Rb, Sr, Y, Zr, Nb, Ba, and Pb) in ancient pottery. This loose powder specimen was prepared by pressing the small powdered sample into a sample holder, formed from a stainless steel disk (48-mm diameter×0.8-mm height) with a hole (11-mm diameter), by hand. Calibration standards were prepared by homogenizing chemical reagents containing these 22 analytes using the concentration ranges of 166 ancient potteries and three clay materials from Japan. The calibration curves of these benchmark mixtures exhibited a good linearity (correlation coefficient, r=0.990-1.000), accuracy, and reproducibility compared with those of other synthesized specimens and three reference standards. The lower limits of detection were less than tens of mgkg-1 (e.g., 94mgkg-1 for Na2O, 11mgkg-1 for P2O5, 1.1mgkg-1 for Rb, and 0.9mgkg-1 for Y). Using the present method, we determined 22 components in two prehistoric potteries from Japan. The advantage of this method is that only a small amount of sample is required, which can be prepared easily and rapidly and reused for other analyses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-297
Number of pages10
JournalX-Ray Spectrometry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Ancient pottery
  • Loose powder
  • Major and minor elements
  • Small powdered sample
  • X-ray fluorescence spectrometry


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