X-ray Fluorescence of Coins


Air Products and Chemicals ran x-ray fluorescence analyses on the coins in a collection, and we have placed the corresponding spectra - plots of fluorescence intensity vs. the 2 angle measured in degrees - on the Web. You can access any spectrum and a 2 table by clicking a specific coin on the picture below. You can also view photos of the equipment and procedures used to obtain the spectra, or go back to the x-ray fluorescence introduction. Your recitation instructor will show you the actual coins in class.

Remember the following principles:

  • Each element may produce more than one line in the spectrum. A combination of intense K line and weaker Kß lines for the same element (at lower values of 2) tends to confirm the presence of the element in the sample.
  • Try to assign the most intense peaks first and then work on the smaller ones. The most intense peak is probably a first order K line from a major component in the sample.
  • The experimental 2 value may differ from those in the table by +/- 0.05.
  • Mo and Sc lines arise from the excitation source and are not elements in the coin.
  • The K line probably arises from handling the coin with bare hands, so you may assume that potassium is not in the coin.
  • Second and third order lines will appear at higher values of 2 relative to the K line.
  • L lines are not as distinctive as K lines because their intensities are lower.

Coin Collection Analyzed with X-ray Fluorescence

Click a coin on the picture to access its spectrum and a table of 2 Theta values.

 

 

Pakistan 1962 - 1 Paisa

Red arrows point to the five spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.42, Significance = 85.78

2. 2 theta = 41.78, Significance = 51.84

3. 2 theta = 44.98, Significance = 249.1

4. 2 theta = 99.81, Significance = 13.92

5. 2 theta = 126.78, Significance = 10.69

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U.S. 1943 - Penny

There are six spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance for them below.

1. 2 theta = 37.50, Significance = 56.49

2. 2 theta = 41.76, Significance = 68.42

3. 2 theta = 51.72, Significance = 34.64

4. 2 theta = 57.50, Significance = 187.0

5. 2 theta = 90.88, Significance = 14.41

6. 2 theta = 97.66, Significance = 16.20

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Norway 1950 - 1 Kroner

Red arrows point to the four spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 47.41

2. 2 theta = 43.73, Significance = 40.16

3. 2 theta = 44.93, Significance = 96.64

4. 2 theta = 48.63, Significance = 169.5

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Persia 500 - 1500 A.D.

Red arrows point to the five spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2  and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 14.17, Significance = 23.86

2. 2 theta = 15.98, Significance = 74.85

3. 2 theta = 20.31, Significance = 15.72

4. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 26.35

5. 2 theta = 97.68, Significance = 15.54

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Lebanon 1955 - 1 Piastr

Red arrows point to the four spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 93.45

2. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 334.2

3. 2 theta = 97.66, Significance = 13.04

4. 2 theta = 99.79, Significance = 11.05

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Italy 1971 - 100 Lira

Red arrows point to the four spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 51.73, Significance = 55.34

2. 2 theta = 57.49, Significance = 273.6

3. 2 theta = 69.32, Significance = 113.4

4. 2 theta = 97.64, Significance = 21.33

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Sverige 1961 - 50 Ore

Red arrows point to the eight spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 13.88 and 14.17, Significance = 10.42 and 41,56

2. 2 theta = 15.96, Significance = 53.90

3. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 31.01

4. 2 theta = 41.76, Significance = 28.91

5. 2 theta = 43.73, Significance = 10.21

6. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 238.7

7. 2 theta = 48.63, Significance = 33.83

8. 2 theta = 87.35, Significance = 11.34

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Denmark 1967- 25 ore

There are six spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 65.52

2. 2 theta = 43.72, Significance = 53.99

3. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 359.9

4. 2 theta = 48.63, Significance = 173.0

5. 2 theta = 97.66, Significance = 22.21

6. 2 theta = 99.79, Significance = 10.04

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France 1968 - 5 Francs

There are six spectral lines of interest for this coin.
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 20.30, Significance = 12.99

2. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 66.34

3. 2 theta = 43.72, Significance = 44.23

4. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 105.3

5. 2 theta = 48.63, Significance = 56.83

6. 2 theta = 99.78, Significance = 13.80

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Spain 1957 - 5 Ptas

There are six spectral lines of interest for this coin.
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 68.23

2. 2 theta = 43.72, Significance = 35.05

3. '2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 328.6

4. 2 theta = 48.63, Significance = 216.1

5. 2 theta = 97.68, Significance = 60.09

6. 2 theta = 99.79, Significance = 13.65

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Helvitica - 1970

There are five spectral lines of interest for this coin.
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 67.06

2. 2 theta = 43.73, Significance = 42.10

3. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 323.0

4. 2 theta = 48.63, Significance = 179.7

5.2 theta = 99.80, Significance = 16.13

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Rhodesia 1955 - Penny

There are seven spectral lines of interest for this coin.
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 12.40, Significance = 14.23

2. 2 theta = 13.99, Significance = 11.81

3. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 92.10

4. 2 theta = 41.75, Significance = 21.51

5. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 387.6

6. 2 theta = 87.36, Significance = 22.25

7. 2 theta = 126.74, Significance = 22.29

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South Africa 1957

There are six spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 93.96

2. 2 theta = 41.75, Significance = 22.88

3. 2 theta = 44.98 and 45.07, Significance = 39.71 and 47.43

4. 2 theta = 97.66, Significance = 23.27

5. 2 theta = 99.79, Significance = 11.23

6. 2 theta = 136.62, Significance = 11.89

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Canada 1952 Quarter

There are twelve spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 13.880 and 14.174, Significance = 13.6 and 73.52

2. '2 theta = 15.972 and 16.102, Significance = 68.88 and 11.38'

3. 2 theta = 20.291, Significance = 10.55

4. 2 theta = 35.94, Significance = .83

5. 2 theta = 40.430, Significance = 35.33

6. 2 theta = 41.76, Significance = .78

7. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 103.3

8. 2 theta = 48.642, Significance = 1.76

9. 2 theta = 57.506, Significance = 2.07

10. 2 theta = 97.682, Significance = 22.75

11. 2 theta = 113.08, Significance = 3.33

12. 2 theta = 133.720, Significance = 11.09

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U.S. 1943 5 Cents

There are twelve spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 14.17, Significance = 50.65

2. 2 theta = 15.96, Significance = 53.59

3. 2 theta = 33.96, Significance = 1.32

4. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 42.47

5. 2 theta = 41.78, Significance = 1.46

6. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 236.3

7. 2 theta = 48.66, Significance = 1.05

8. 2 theta = 51.74, Significance = 0.76

9. 2 theta = 56.63, Significance = 4.71

10. 2 theta = 57.50, Significance = 0.139

11. 2 theta = 62.92, Significance = 3.21

12. 2 theta = 69.57, Significance = 0.92

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Somalia 1950 - 1 Centismo

There are four spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 97.79

2. 2 theta = 41.76, Significance = 77.02

3. 2 theta = 44.97 and 45.07, Significance = 42.30 and 50.95

4. 2 theta = 99.78, Significance = 19.49

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England 1900 - Six Pence

There are five spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 13.88 and 14.17, Significance = 14.81 and 70.26

2. 2 theta = 15.96, Significance = 77.63

3. 2 theta = 20.29, Significance = 18.87

4. 2 theta = 40.42, Significance = 13.81

5. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 57.40

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England 1909 - Penny

There are four spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 13.99, Significance = 22.08

2. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 94.31

3. 2 theta = 41.75, Significance = 17.72

4. 2 theta = 44.98 and 45.08, Significance = 55.94 and 23.74

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U.S. 1915 Buffalo Nickel

There are fifteen spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 14.05, Significance = 1.54

2. 2 theta = 15.99, Significance = 1.04

3. 2 theta = 37.51, Significance = 1.14

4. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 70.02

5. 2 theta = 41.77, Significance = 3.63

6. 2 theta = 43.72, Significance = 40.53

7. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 326.6

8. 2 theta = 48.63, Significance = 204.3

9. 2 theta = 51.74, Significance = .98

10. 2 theta = 56.68, Significance = 1.49

11. 2 theta = 57.49, Significance = 3.08

12. 2 theta = 62.96, Significance = 10.89

13. 2 theta = 87.31, Significance = 19.16

14. 2 theta = 113.11, Significance = 19.04

15. 2 theta = 126.78, Significance = 1.46

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Lebanon 1955 - 2 1/2 Piastr

There are four spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 93.45

2. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 334.2

3. 2 theta = 97.66, Significance = 13.04

4. 2 theta = 99.79, Significance = 11.05

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England 1953 - Farthing

There are six spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 12.39, Significance = 10.11

2. 2 theta = 13.99, Significance = 11.87

3. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 96.17

4. 2 theta = 41.75, Significance = 15.31

5. 2 theta = 44.99 and 45.08, Significance = 54.01 and 20.48

6. 2 theta = 126.73, Significance = 19.44

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England 1897 - Penny

There are seven spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 12.40, Significance = 11.47

2. 2 theta = 13.99, Significance = 16.16

3. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 96.55

4. 2 theta = 41.75, Significance = 12.98

5. 2 theta = 44.98 and 45.08, Significance = 56.86 and 32.43

6. 2 theta = 87.38, Significance =16.14

7. 2 theta = 99.78, Significance = 14.35

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England 1930 - Half Penny

There are seven spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 13.99, Significance = 11.36

2. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 71.58

3. 2 theta = 41.76, Significance = 21.64

4. 2 theta = 44.98 and 45.08, Significance = 56.39 and 30.64

5. 2 theta = 87.35, Significance = 21.67

6. 2 theta = 99.79, Significance = 11.04

7. 2 theta = 126.73, Significance = 16.61

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U.S. 1782 - 1 Bit

There are eight spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 13.88, Significance = 10.54

2. 2 theta = 14.17, Significance =74.22

3. 2 theta = 16.10, Significance =10.76

4. 2 theta = 20.30, Significance = 14.05

5. 2 theta = 30.19, Significance = 12.00

6. 2 theta = 35.88, Significance = 13.80

7. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 44.08

8. 2 theta = 133.75, Significance = 18.45

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U.S. 1922 - Silver Dollar

There are eight spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 14.17,Significance = 57.44

2. 2 theta = 15.96, Significance = 77.05

3. 2 theta = 16.10, Significance = 10.62

4. 2 theta = 20.29, Significance = 10.87

5. 2 theta = 33.80, Significance = 0.78

6. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 14.83

7. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 49.75

8. 2 theta = 57.48, Significance = 1.32

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England 1956 - Shilling

There are three spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 70.85

2. 2 theta = 43.73, Significance = 38.45

3. 2 theta = 44.63 and 44.93, Significance = 381.6 and 165.6

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Sverige 1955 - Konung

There are seven spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 14.17, Significance = 53.97

2. 2 theta = 15.96, Significance = 69.07

3. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 51.29

4. 2 theta = 41.75, Significance = 21.54

5. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 62.13

6. 2 theta = 122.02, Significance = 12.80

7. 2 theta = 133.74, Significance = 22.62

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Peru 1945 - Centavo

There are four spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.


1. 2 theta = 40.42, Significance = 93.36

2. 2 theta = 41.76, Significance = 14.03

3. 2 theta = 44.98 and 45.07, Significance = 78.27 and 17.63

4. 2 theta = 99.79, Significance = 15.40

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Canada 1980 Penny

There are five spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.431, Significance = 96.90

2. 2 theta = 41.750, Significance = 22.65

3. 2 theta = 44.976 and 45.073, Significance = 42.42 and 38.04

4. 2 theta = 97.666, Significance = 12.78

5. 2 theta = 99.802, Significance = 15.28

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U.S. 1848 Penny

There are three spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.


1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 97.01

2. 2 theta = 44.97 and 45.02, Significance = 44.20 and 44.67

3. 2 theta = 99.79, Significance = 14.71

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Netherlands 1958 - 5 Cents

There are five spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 65.96

2. 2 theta = 43.73, Significance = 34.17

3. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 370.0

4. 2 theta = 48.63, Significance = 74.62

5. 2 theta = 87.29, Significance = 15.96

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Canada 1887 - 1 Cent

There are five spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 13.99, Significance = 11.43

2. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 90.84

3. 2 theta = 41.76, Significance = 32.33

4. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 388.1

5. 2 theta = 99.79, Significance = 14.19

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Italy 1954 - 5 Lira

There are four spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 20.30, Significance = 10.59

2. 2 theta = 57.49, Significance = 9.03

3. 2 theta = 62.94, Significance = 14.55

4. 2 theta = 97.68, Significance = 22.79

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England 1926 Penny

There are seven spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2theta and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta =13.999, significance=10.49

2. 2 theta =40.434, significance=117.9

3. 2 theta =41.769, significance=50.93

4. 2 theta =44.991, significance=57.05

5. 2 theta=45.084, significance=25.44

6. 2 theta =114.410, significance=12.70

7. 2 theta =126.747, significance=12.16

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Denmark 1967 - 5 Kroner

There are five spectral lines of interest for this coin. 
See the 2 and significance below, in order from left to right on the spectrum.

1. 2 theta = 40.43, Significance = 71.93

2. 2 theta = 43.73, Significance = 48.69

3. 2 theta = 44.99, Significance = 387.2

4. 2 theta = 48.63, Significance = 166.3

5. 2 theta = 99.79, Significance = 12.66

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