EDS elemental analysis

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 ChemiSEM 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.

EDX elemental 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.

Chemical mapping with EDS technology.
Left - Chemical composition mapping of a transistor with a total map acquisition time of 1 hour and 54 minutes. The 100 x 100 pixel EDS map was taken on a Si(Li) detector system with a 500 msec/pixel dwell time, ~0.7 nm spot size, and 0.4 nA beam current. Right - 100 x 100 pixel EDS map of an equivalent device taken with ChemiSTEM Technology in only 115 seconds, with a 5 msec/pixel dwell time, ~0.3 nm spot size, and 1.0 nA beam current. Sample courtesy of NXP Research.

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.

EDS spectrum of a steel standard.
Super-X Detector spectrum (log scale) of an NIST-certified steel standard NBS No.461. Bottom - Zoomed spectra showing minor elements of vanadium (0.024 wt.%), arsenic (0.028 wt.%) and tin (0.022 wt.%). Gallium and platinum peaks are due to FIB preparation.


Process control using electron microscopy

Process control using electron microscopy

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 failure analysis using electron microscopy

Quality control and failure analysis

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.

Aluminum mineral grain found with SEM during parts cleanliness testing

Technical Cleanliness

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.

Fundamental Materials Research_R&D_Thumb_274x180_144DPI

Fundamental Materials Research

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.



Battery Research

Battery development is enabled by multi-scale analysis with microCT, SEM and TEM, Raman spectroscopy, XPS, and digital 3D visualization and analysis. Learn how this approach provides the structural and chemical information needed to build better batteries.

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Polymers Research

Polymer microstructure dictates the material’s bulk characteristics and performance. Electron microscopy enables comprehensive microscale analysis of polymer morphology and composition for R&D and quality control applications.

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Metals Research

Effective production of metals requires precise control of inclusions and precipitates. Our automated tools can perform a variety of tasks critical for metal analysis including; nanoparticle counting, EDS chemical analysis and TEM sample preparation.

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Materials have fundamentally different properties at the nanoscale than at the macroscale. To study them, S/TEM instrumentation can be combined with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to obtain nanometer, or even sub-nanometer, resolution data.

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Oil and Gas

As the demand for oil and gas continues, there is an ongoing need for efficient and effective extraction of hydrocarbons. Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a range of microscopy and spectroscopy solutions for a variety of petroleum science applications.

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Geological Research

Geoscience relies on consistent and accurate multi-scale observation of features within rock samples. SEM-EDS, combined with automation software, enables direct, large-scale analysis of texture and mineral composition for petrology and mineralogy research.

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Automotive Materials Testing

Every component in a modern vehicle is designed for safety, efficiency, and performance. Detailed characterization of automotive materials with electron microscopy and spectroscopy informs critical process decisions, product improvements, and new materials.

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Catalysis Research

Catalysts are critical for a majority of modern industrial processes. Their efficiency depends on the microscopic composition and morphology of the catalytic particles; EM with EDS is ideally suited for studying these properties.

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2D Materials

Novel materials research is increasingly interested in the structure of low-dimensional materials. Scanning transmission electron microscopy with probe correction and monochromation allows for high-resolution two-dimensional materials imaging.

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Helios 5 Laser PFIB System

  • Fast, millimeter-scale cross sections
  • Statistically relevant deep subsurface and 3D data analysis
  • Shares all capabilities of the Helios 5 PFIB platform

Spectra Ultra

  • New imaging and spectroscopy capabilities on the most beam sensitive materials
  • A leap forward in EDX detection with Ultra-X
  • Column designed to maintain sample integrity.

Spectra 200

  • High-resolution and contrast imaging for accelerating voltages from 30-200 kV
  • Symmetric S-TWIN/X-TWIN objective lens with wide-gap pole piece design of 5.4 mm
  • Sub-Angstrom STEM imaging resolution from 60 kV-200 kV

Spectra 300

  • Highest-resolution structural and chemical information at the atomic level
  • Flexible high-tension range from 30-300 kV
  • Three lens condenser system

Talos F200S TEM

  • Precise chemical composition data
  • High-performance imaging and precise compositional analysis for dynamic microscopy
  • Features Velox Software for fast and easy acquisition and analysis of multimodal data

Talos F200X TEM

  • High-quality, high-resolution (S)TEM imaging and accurate EDS
  • Available with high-resolution, high-brightness (cold) field emission gun
  • Available with in-column Super-X G2 EDS with ultimate cleanliness
Thermo Scientific Talos F200C transmission electron microscope (TEM)

Talos F200C TEM

  • Flexible EDS analysis reveals chemical information
  • High-contrast, high-quality TEM and STEM imaging
  • Ceta 16 Mpixel CMOS camera provides large field of view and high read-out speed
Thermo Scientific Talos L120C transmission electron microscope (TEM)

Talos L120C TEM

  • Increased stability
  • 4k × 4K Ceta CMOS camera
  • TEM magnification range from 25–650 kX
  • Flexible EDS analysis reveals chemical information

Talos F200i TEM

  • High-quality, high-resolution (S)TEM imaging and flexible EDS
  • Available with high-resolution, high-brightness (cold) field emission guns
  • Available with Dual EDS for highest analytical throughput
Thermo Scientific Prisma E scanning electron microscope (SEM)

Prisma E SEM

  • Entry-level SEM with excellent image quality
  • Easy and quick sample loading and navigation for multiple samples
  • Compatible with a wide range of materials thanks to dedicated vacuum modes
Thermo Scientific Quattro E scanning electron microscope (SEM)

Quattro ESEM

  • Ultra-versatile high-resolution FEG SEM with unique environmental capability (ESEM)
  • Observe all information from all samples with simultaneous SE and BSE imaging in every mode of operation

Phenom ParticleX Steel Desktop SEM

  • SEM and EDS integrated
  • Ease of use
  • Sub-micrometer inclusions
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