Elemental analysis is the fundamental application of energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS, also called EDX or XEDS). With EDS, vital compositional information is added to electron microscopy images, providing you with a combined morphological and chemical overview of your sample. As EDS analysis becomes increasingly intertwined with routine electron microscopy, enhancing the speed and sensitivity of the technique is paramount. Thermo Fisher Scientific offers the unique Thermo Scientific ChemiSTEM Technology, designed for S/TEM instruments to optimize both the number of X-rays generated by the sample and the number captured by the detector. ChemiSTEM Technology performs rapid EDS mapping as well as trace element detection, broadening the utility and performance of EDS analysis with your S/TEM tools. Additionally, Thermo Scientific ColorSEM Technology is available on SEM instruments as an always-on feature that allows any user to acquire elemental data, providing more access to complete information than ever before.
Fast compositional mapping
Higher efficiency EDS detection systems enable fast compositional analysis with below nanometer resolution. Compared to conventional single silicon drift detector (SDD) systems, ChemiSTEM Technology produces up to 5 times the X-rays with the X-FEG and collects up to 10 times the X-ray with the Super-X Detection System.
Additionally, ChemiSTEM Technology features several factors of speed enhancement compared to traditional silicon-lithium X-ray detectors due to the increased speed of the SDDs. For EDS maps of equivalent sizes and statistics, the ChemiSTEM System offers a total enhancement of “hours to minutes.” Even live mapping for areas of interest becomes feasible, as shown in the example below.
Live chemical composition mapping of a transistor using the Super-X Detection System and Velox Software.
The elemental distribution is processed live due to the superior sensitivity of the sensor. Even the first scan reveals the chemical composition of the different parts of the device. 3 scans total were used to generate the final composite and single element maps.
Trace element detection
The Super-X Detection System features 4 SDDs for substantially enhanced sensitivity, which is critical for trace element detection. The example to the right highlights the sensitivity limits of ChemiSTEM Technology for a NIST-certified steel standard (Standard Reference Material NBS No. 461). In bulk, this low-alloy steel has certified concentrations of the following elements: arsenic (0.028 wt.%), vanadium (0.024 wt.%), and tin (0.022 wt.%). The full spectrum was acquired in 600 seconds, using a beam current of 1.7 nA, while scanning a micron-sized area to average the composition across the microstructure of the sample.
This example demonstrates that trace elements detection with low concentrations (as low as ~0.02 wt.%) is possible in a reasonable 10-minute total acquisition time.
Modern industry demands high throughput with superior quality, a balance that is maintained through robust process control. SEM and TEM tools with dedicated automation software provide rapid, multi-scale information for process monitoring and improvement.
Quality control and assurance are essential in modern industry. We offer a range of EM and spectroscopy tools for multi-scale and multi-modal analysis of defects, allowing you to make reliable and informed decisions for process control and improvement.
More than ever, modern manufacturing necessitates reliable, quality components. With scanning electron microscopy, parts cleanliness analysis can be brought inhouse, providing you with a broad range of analytical data and shortening your production cycle.
Novel materials are investigated at increasingly smaller scales for maximum control of their physical and chemical properties. Electron microscopy provides researchers with key insight into a wide variety of material characteristics at the micro- to nano-scale.
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