Pioneered non-destructive methods of elemental micro-analysis based on X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy were developed since mid-70s by Themis Paradellis. Various applications targeted the fields of cultural heritage, health and the environment. Characteristic examples in the field of cultural heritage include the study of the blue color of Minoan and Mycenaean pigments, as well as the first discovery in excavation material from the archaeological site of Akrotiri (Thera island) of the use of the murex purple pigment. In the field of environment, a systematic report of the trace elements concentrations in lignite and bottom/fly ash samples from all Greek lignite power plants was produced in the framework of the European funded program (CI1-CT91-0858 (TST), Trace Elements in Coal, 1991-95). In the field of bio-medicine, the past activities of the XRF laboratory (1975-2005) focused on the determination of trace elements in biological human samples (blood, plasma, serum) in collaboration with the Medical School of the University of Athens (first Propaedeutic Clinic). The aim of this long-lasting study was to investigate the correlation of the lack or excess of specific trace elements with pathological disorders in humans, but also to support building a database of trace elements concentrations for healthy population in Greece.
The X-ray spectrometry group focuses nowadays its research activities on the development of XRF analytical methodologies with emphasis: a) on quantification procedures targeting the improvement of the reliability of elemental analyses performed by different XRF variants on various materials and b) new interdisciplinary applications in the fields of:
• Cultural Heritage
• Air pollution and trace element analysis of environmental samples
• Advanced/Energy materials characterization
• Development of customized portable XRF spectrometers