Simon Fraser University Department of Archaeology X-Ray Fluorescence Laboratory


Welcome to the SFU Archaeology XRF Lab! It provides a range of analytic services related to a range of materials including obsidian, other igneous rock (basalt, andesite, dacite, rhyolite), murock (slate, shale and others), ceramics and anything else of interest. This webpage provides further information related to our instruments, pricing information, submission of samples, turnaround time and current research by people at SFU Archaeology. 

About the Lab

The instrument used is a Bruker Tracer 5i that has an 8 um Beryllium (Be) instrument window, can detect elements from Sodium (Na) to Uranium (Ur), but analyzes elements from Magnesium (Mg) to Uranium (Ur).  It is equipped with a 20mm2 Silicon Drift Detector with <140eV@250,000 counts per second and has a Rhodium (Rh) thin window X-ray tube that can generate x-rays from 6-50kV and 4.5-195uA. The instrument power settings for obsidian analysis for obsidian and fine grained volcanic (FGV) is 40kV and 43.5 uA and all samples were run for a total of 60 seconds.


XRF Analysis per sample


Reporting per Project


Rapid Turnaround per sample


Geologic Source Materials


Student research


Results of all projects will be sent electronically unless otherwise desired





We are particularly interested in research projects of interest to the Northwest Coast, Plateau, and Sub-Arctic culture regions. Specifically: The examination of obsidian, basaltic rock or other lithic sources, the study of museum collections or other collections that have interesting artifacts, improvement of our lab and analytical capabilities, partnership or collaboration on projects and data sharing. 


Obsidian, Fine grained volcanic rock, slate and ochre reference library.