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Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS)

Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) is an analytical technique that can be coupled with several electron-beam based techniques including Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM).

EDS, when combined with these imaging tools, can provide spatially resolved elemental analysis from areas as small as few nanometers in diameter. The impact of the electron beam on the sample produces x-rays that are characteristic of the elements present on the sample. EDS analysis can be used to determine the elemental composition of individual points or to map out the lateral distribution of elements from the imaged area.

Ideal Uses
  • Elemental composition of small areas using SEM/TEM imaging
  • Defect identification/mapping
Technical Specifications

Signal Detected: Characteristic X-rays
Elements Detected: B-U
Detection Limits: 0.1-1at%
Depth Resolution: 0.5-3μm (for SEM-EDS), n/a for TEM-EDS
Imaging/Mapping: Yes
Lateral Resolution/Probe Size: 1-2nm for STEM-EDS,  >=0.3μm for SEM EDS

  • Quick, “first look” compositional analysis
  • Versatile, inexpensive, and widely available
  • Quantitative for some samples (flat, polished, homogeneous)
  • Generally, semi analysis is possible (goes to semi-quantitative)
  • Sample size must be compatible with SEM/TEM
  • Samples must be vacuum compatible (not ideal for wet organic material)
  • Analysis (and coating) may restrict subsequent surface analysis
  • Numerous elemental peak overlaps are possible, careful review of the spectra is required.