A Reassessment of Absolute Energies of X-ray L Lines of Lanthanide Metals
Bradley K. Alpert, William B. Doriese, Gene C. Hilton, Lawrence T. Hudson, Young Il Joe, Kelsey M. Morgan, Carl D. Reintsema, Daniel R. Schmidt, Daniel S. Swetz, Csilla I. Szabo-Foster, Joel N. Ullom, Joseph W. Fowler, Galen C. O'Neil, Douglas A. Bennett
We introduce a new technique for determining x-ray fluorescence line energies and widths, and we present measurements made with this technique of 22 x-ray L lines from lanthanide-series elements. The technique uses arrays of transition-edge sensors, microcalorimeters with high energy-resolving power that simultaneously observe both high-precision x-ray standards and the x-ray emission lines under study. The uncertainty in absolute line energies is generally less than 0.4 eV in the energy range of 4.5 keV to 7.5 keV. Of the seventeen line energies of neodymium, samarium, and holmium, thirteen are found to be consistent with the available x-ray reference data measured after 1990; only two of the four lines for which reference data predate 1980, however, are consistent with our results. Five lines of terbium are measured with uncertainties that improve on those of existing data by factors of two or more. These results eliminate a significant discrepancy between measured and calculated x-ray line energies for the terbium Ll line (5.551keV). The line widths are also measured, with uncertainties of 0.6eV or less on the full-width at half-maximum in most cases. These measurements were made with an array of approximately one hundred superconducting x- ray microcalorimeters, each sensitive at all times to the full energy band of 1keV to 8keV. No energy-dispersive spectrometer has previously been used for absolute energy estimation at this level of accuracy. Future spectrometers, with superior linearity and energy resolution, will allow us to improve on these results and expand the measurements to more elements and a wider range of line energies.