Initiated by Emeritus Prof. James Willis, and now organized by UCT in association with Malvern Panalytical, this course presents the principles and practice of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry analysis. The emphasis will be on the application of the technique to geological materials, but applications in the cement, metals, and other industries and in environmental analysis will also be discussed. The Department of Geological Sciences will host a summer course for industry, research, and academia on the theory and practice of XRF Spectrometry.

Course details

Lectures will be given mostly by Dr. Ir. B.A.R. Vrebos on both wavelength and energy dispersive XRF spectrometry. There will be an introduction to modern XRF spectrometers, and practical exercises to the various procedures necessary for successful major and trace element calibrations and data reduction for both techniques.

Participants will carry out tutorial calculations on test data sets to familiarize themselves with the procedures involved. They will receive a comprehensive set of course materials, including “Understanding XRF Spectrometry” (a two-volume book by James Willis and Andrew Duncan published in 2008 by PANalytical B.V.) together with lecture handouts, notes, and other useful documentation.

Participants completing the course should be in a strong position to successfully carry out XRFS analysis on any vendor’s machine. A certificate of attendance will be issued.

Dates and place

Week 1: 13-17 January 2020, from 8:15 AM to 5:00 PM 

Week 2: 20-24 January 2020,  from 8:15 AM to 5:00 PM

Department of geological sciences, University of Cape Town

Course fee: ZAR 19 000 for the two weeks; ZAR 11 000 one week only; excluding accommodation and meals. Members of GSSA or SASS will get a 5% discount on the course fees; this is not cumulative with other reductions in course fee.

For more information and to register:

Contact Chris Harris ( or Nic Laidler ( at UCT:

Tel: +27 21 650 2921 or +27 21 650 2931 or +27 21 650 3275

or contact Bruno Vrebos ( at Malvern Panalytical: