Synchrotron radiation sources offer important features for the analysis of a material. Among these features is the ability to determine both the elemental composition of the material and the chemical state of its elements. For microscopic analysis synchrotron X-ray fluorescence (SXRF) microprobes now offer spatial resolutions of 10 ??m with minimum detection limits in the 1-10 ppm range depending on the nature of the sample and the synchrotron source used. This paper describes the properties of synchrotron radiation and their importance for elemental analysis, existing synchrotron facilities and those under construction that are optimum for SXRF microanalysis, and a number of applications including the high energy excitation of the K lines of heavy elements, microtomography, and XANES and EXAFS spectroscopies. ?? 1990.