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What is EDX (Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy)?

EDX systems are attachments to Electron Microscopy instruments (Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) or Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) instruments where the imaging capability of the microscope identifies the specimen of interest. The data generated by EDX analysis consist of spectra showing peaks corresponding to the elements making up the true composition of the sample being analyzed.

In a multi-technique approach EDX becomes very powerful, particularly in contamination analysis and industrial forensic science investigations. The technique can be qualitative, semi-quantitative, quantitative and also provide spatial distribution of elements through mapping. The EDX technique is non-destructive and specimens of interest can be examined in situ with little or no sample preparation.

An electron beam is focussed on the sample in either a scanning electron microscope (SEM) or a transmission electron microscope (TEM). The electrons from the primary beam penetrate the sample and interact with the atoms from which it is made. Two types of X-rays result from these interactions: Bremsstrahlung X-rays, which means ‘braking radiation’ and are also referred to as Continuum or background X-rays, and Characteristic X-rays.

The X-rays are detected by an Energy Dispersive detector which displays the signal as a spectrum, or histogram, of intensity (number of X-rays or X-ray count rate) versus X-ray energy. The energies of the Characteristic X-rays allow the elements making up the sample to be identified, while the intensities of the Characteristic X-ray peaks allow the concentrations of the elements to be quantified.

How does EDX work?

When the sample is bombarded by the SEM's electron beam, electrons are ejected from the atoms comprising the sample's surface. The resulting electron vacancies are filled by electrons from a higher state, and an x-ray is emitted to balance the energy difference between the two electrons' states. The x-ray energy is characteristic of the element from which it was emitted.

The EDS x-ray detector measures the relative abundance of emitted x-rays versus their energy. The detector is typically a lithium-drifted silicon, solid-state device. When an incident x-ray strikes the detector, it creates a charge pulse that is proportional to the energy of the x-ray. The charge pulse is converted to a voltage pulse (which remains proportional to the x-ray energy) by a charge-sensitive preamplifier. The signal is then sent to a multichannel analyzer where the pulses are sorted by voltage. The energy, as determined from the voltage measurement, for each incident x-ray is sent to a computer for display and further data evaluation. The spectrum of x-ray energy versus counts is evaluated to determine the elemental composition of the sampled volume.

Where does ED help?

1. Electrical/Electronic Material

  • EDXRF Analysis of Chlorine in Plastic (PE) Materials

  • Screening Analysis with EDX-7000 Navi Software

2. Automobiles and Machinery

  • Automobile Evaluation Instruments

3. Ferrous/Non-Ferrous Metals

  • QC Analysis of Magnesium Alloy Die Castings by EDXRF

  • EDXRF Analysis of Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Chromium in Zinc Alloy

  • EDXRF Analysis of Lead, Cadmium, Silver, Copper in Lead-Free Solder Materials

  • Measurement of Lead in Lead-Free Solder by ICP-AES, FAAS and EDX

4. Ceramics

  • Quantitative Analysis of Cement by EDX

5. Oil and Petrochemical

  • Analysis of Inorganic Additives in Resin by FTIR and EDX

  • EDXRF Analysis of PM2.5 (Particulate Matter)

  • Analysis of Sulfur in Oil Using Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer

  • Quantitative Analysis of Antimony (Sb) in Plastics by EDXRF

  • Quantitative Analysis of Waste Oil by EDX-7000

6. Chemicals

  • Analysis of Black Rubber Diaphragm by FTIR and EDX

  • Quantitative Analysis of Elements in Small Quantity of Organic Matter by EDXRF - New Feature of Background FP Method

7. Environmental/Mining

  • Analysis of Aqueous Solution by EDX-LE - Performance in Air Atmosphere -

  • Determination of Arsenic and Lead in Earth and Sand Using EDXRF [JIS K 0470]

8. Pharmaceuticals

  • EDXRF Analysis of Arsenic and Lead in Dietary Supplement

9. Agriculture and Foods

  • EDXRF Analysis of Arsenic in Foods

  • Confirmation of Raw Material Quality -Dealing with "Silent Change" Counterfeiting-

  • FTIR/EDX Food Contaminant Analysis System

  • Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Seafood by EDXRF

Copperpod IP helps attorneys evaluate patent infringement and uncover hard-to-find evidence of use through public documentation research, product testing and reverse engineering, including reverse engineering techniques outlined above. Please contact us at to know more about our reverse engineering capabilities.

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