XRF analysis begins with the scanning of leads and/or the package via X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to identify the elemental composition of materials, the concentration of solids and solutions, and trace elements. This data is then compared to a device’s official data sheet.
In many cases the initial findings do not present an exact match; especially when it comes to the presence of lead. If lead is detected within a device’s plating, that a spec sheet states should be lead-free, then ACT will investigate to see if a valid justification exists. For example, the device may have actually been lead dipped for a particular military application, which is denoted by some obscure mark on the device. If the intended use is military, and RoHS compliance is not mandated, then this intentional deviation may be completely acceptable and even desirable.
In another scenario, a trace of carbon may be detected on the leads. The next logical step is for ACT to investigate the plating and methods that may have been used in the retinning process to see if this may have caused the carbon trace. This may require contact with the OEM and may transform what would have been a 5-minute test into one that takes several hours or more.