Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy

EDS Analysis to Determine Elemental Composition

SEM EDS AnalysisEnergy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS), also known as EDS Analysis, is a qualitative and semi-quantitative X-ray microanalytical technique that can provide information about the elemental composition of a sample. It is useful in identifying metals and certain types of polymeric materials with unique elemental signatures.

The information generated by Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis can also help in identifying coatings, and in some cases, foreign inorganic substances present in a sample.

EDS Analysis at LTI

The metallurgical engineers at Laboratory Testing Inc. in the Philadelphia, PA (USA) area offer EDS analysis services. They work with a fully computerized SEM EDS system that includes a Hitachi S-3400N SEM and an EDAX EDS. The system is powered by TEAM EDS Analysis software for efficiency and to ensure accurate, reproducible results for a wide range of applications.

The SEM EDS system is a powerful instrument with its combined Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy capabilities. The SEM can magnify areas of the test sample to 300,000x, scan these regions, create an image based off the structure of the surface and save image files. The sample region evaluated with SEM Analysis can be analyzed to determine the specific elements that comprise the area by utilizing EDS Analysis.

The SEM EDS system has broad applications from collecting a spectrum to performing complex phase analysis. It can identify major inorganic elements in microscopic samples and small areas of interest on samples. It is also capable of identifying the elements present in contamination particles as small as one micrometer in size and determining the thickness of coatings.

Ask us to quote the examination, results and reporting you need to meet your requirements.

Test Methods/Specifications

  • ASTM B748
  • MIL Specifications

SEM EDS Analysis provides valuable information for metallurgical testing and elemental composition analysis. It is also useful for investigating material failures since it can reveal where a fracture started, how fast it propagated, and whether the fracture mode was ductile or brittle. Cross sectional measurements of plating thickness (ASTM B748) can also be recorded with this instrument. The results are in the form of black and white images for our interpretation.

LTI Capabilities

  • SEM EDS Analysis – qualitative and semi-quantitative elemental composition
  • Identification of coatings, and in some cases, foreign inorganic substances
  • Magnification – from 5x to 300,000x
  • Sample Size – up to 200 mm (7.87 in.) in diameter and 80 mm (3.14 in.) in height
  • Materials Analyzed – solid inorganic materials including metal and polymeric samples

The Test Process

An EDS detector is used to separate the characteristic X-rays of different elements into an energy spectrum. A typical EDS spectrum is charted with X-ray wavelengths or counts vs. intensity or energy (in keV).

During SEM EDS Analysis, an electron beam is scanned across a sample’s surface and the electrons strike and stimulate the sample. Almost instantaneously, as each element returns to its original energy state, it emits X-rays of specific energies and at different wavelengths characteristic of the element. Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy plots these results with X-ray wavelength on the X-axis and intensity on the Y-axis, and labels each corresponding element. Identification of the elements is done by matching the peak values on the x-axis with known wavelengths for each element to reveal the sample’s elemental composition.

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