The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works presents:

Advanced XRF Workshop: Quantification and Calibration

January 11 – 14, 2016
Buffalo, New York
Art Conservation Department, SUNY Buffalo State
Instructors:  Dr. Aaron Shugar and Arlen Heginbotham

The attendees of this course will learn about the various methods used for quantification of XRF data. In particular they will learn about the statistics behind calibration, the methods used for calibration, how to calibrate their specific instruments, what would be required if they decided to create their own started reference materials, and what they can expect from a calibrated system.

Registration Fee:
 $350 AIC members; $500 non-members
(includes refreshment breaks and lunches)
Limit 10 participants.  Space is limited, so early registration is strongly encouraged. 

  • This course is now full. For a place on the wait list or other inquiries, please contact Sarah Saetren at

    Online registration requires you to create a log-in (or to use one that you already have for our site) with a name and email address before you may purchase an event registration. No information aside from the username and email address is required to create a profile.
    Registration fee does not include lodging. FAIC's workshop and conference registration policies can be found here.
Although many conservation professionals are familiar with basics of X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis, more complex issues, such as advanced data interpretation and system calibration for quantification, are often misunderstood, or not understood at all. This course will help attendants develop their skills with basics of quantification, give them tools to calibrate a Bruker Tracer XRF system correctly, have discussions on how limits of detection and limits of quantification are calculated, and provide alternative quantification solutions. We will have experts in the field give demonstrations and give participants the opportunity for time in the lab to work with instrumentation along with these experts. Reference sets (CHARMS) and sample collections from the Buffalo State College Art Conservation Department will be used to calibrate instrumentation.  This course is designed specifically for conservation professionals with basic understanding of XRF.  Attendants are expected to bring their instrument with them so that the calibrations build can be taken back to their institutions for use.

Course Outline
Day one
Lecture: Methods of Quantification
Lecture: Determining Limits of Detection, Limits of Quantification, and error calculations
Lab session: Collecting data from CHARMS set to be used for calibration

Day two
Lecture on Bruker software used for calibration and the methods used to create a specific calibration
Lab: Starting to build a calibration from the CHARMS set

Day three
Lecture on pyMCA Theoretical modeling software for quantification
Lab: Data collection of unknown samples and using pyMCA software

Day four 
Lecture: Continue with pyMCA and review collected data – discussion of interlabratory studies and the issues related to variable data collection
Lecture:  Creating your own standard reference materials – options and suggestions.
Summary of course and review of process.

  • Dr. Aaron Shugar is the Andrew W. Mellon Associate Professor in Conservation Science in the Buffalo State College Art Conservation Department. He has a Ph.D. in Archaeometallurgy from University College London and his work in the analysis of archaeological metals and glass has taken him around the globe. Aaron’s main interest is in historic technologies and he has added hand-held XRF techniques as well as 3-D imaging scanning technology to his course work at Buffalo State to help graduate students gain a better understanding of the materials they are working with. He is one of the leading experts in the field of handheld XRF technology and has given lectures across the country and Canada in addition to being widely published on the subject.
  • Arlen Heginbotham received his A.B. in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and his M.A. in Art Conservation from Buffalo State College.  He is currently Associate Conservator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture at the Getty Museum.  Arlen’s research interests include the use of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy as a tool for studying copper alloy artifacts, the history of metallurgy, the history and analysis of 17th century East Asian export lacquer, and microscopic and chemical wood identification.
Travel Information:
There are two nearby hotels which you may consider using for this event, but please note that AIC/FAIC in no way endorses these businesses.
  • Downtown Holiday Inn
    It is walkable but quite far (about 2.5 miles).
    Rates around $100-150 during the time of this event.
  • Oscar's Bed & Breakfast
    288 Linwood Avenue (2.4 miles away)
    Newly renovated mansion – very charming. Rate is about $130-160 but probably not walkable unless you are really motivated.

This program is supported by funding from the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artist Works Endowment for Professional Development, which was created by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and donations from members of the American Institute for Conservation and its friends. Courses are made possible with the assistance of many AIC members, but no AIC membership dues were used to create or present this course.

Without this support, the registration fees would be approximately $800.

Contact: Sarah Saetren
FAIC Education Assistant