Scanning Electron Microscopy

SEM Analysis with EDS Capabilities

Scanning electron microscopyScanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), also known as SEM analysis or SEM microscopy, is used very effectively in microanalysis and failure analysis of solid inorganic materials. Scanning electron microscopy is performed at high magnifications, generates high-resolution images and precisely measures very small features and objects.

Laboratory Testing Inc. near Philadelphia, PA (USA) has a complete system which also offers Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) capabilities.

Reliable System With Valuable Features

LTI performs Scanning Electron Microscopy with a Hitachi S-3400N SEM. The Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy component is implemented with an EDAX EDS.

  • The SEM equipment includes a variable pressure system capable of holding wet and/or non-conductive samples with minimal preparation.
  • The large sample chamber allows for the examination of samples up to 200 mm (7.87 in.) in diameter and 80 mm (3.14 in.) in height.
  • High-resolution images are produced during SEM analysis at magnifications from 5x to 300,000x.

The EDS features a silicon drift detector (SDD) that offers superior speed and energy resolution compared with traditional SiLi detectors. The system is powered by the new TEAM software package that facilitates material characterization via methods such as spectral analysis, line scans, and element mapping.

SEM Analysis Applications

The signals generated during SEM analysis produce a two-dimensional image and reveal information about the sample including:

  • External morphology (texture)
  • Chemical composition (when used with EDS)
  • Orientation of materials making up the sample

The EDS component of the system is applied in conjunction with SEM analysis to:

  • Determine elements in or on the surface of the sample for qualitative information
  • Measure elemental composition for semi-quantitative results
  • Identify foreign substances that are not organic in nature and coatings on metal

Discuss your test requirements with our team today.

LTI Capabilities

  • SEM Analysis with EDS – qualitative and semi-quantitative results
  • 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 metals and polymers

The SEM Analysis Process

Scanning Electron Microscopy uses a focused beam of high-energy electrons to generate a variety of signals at the surface of solid specimens. In most SEM microscopy applications, data is collected over a selected area of the surface of the sample and a two-dimensional image is generated that displays spatial variations in properties including chemical characterization, texture and orientation of materials. The SEM is also capable of performing analyses of selected point locations on the sample. This approach is especially useful in qualitatively or semi-quantitatively determining chemical compositions, crystalline structure and crystal orientations.

The EDS detector separates the characteristic X-rays of different elements into an energy spectrum and EDS system software is used to analyze the energy spectrum in order to determine the abundance of specific elements. A typical EDS spectrum is portrayed as a plot of X-ray counts vs. energy (in keV). Energy peaks correspond to the various elements in the sample. Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy can be used to find the chemical composition of materials down to a spot size of a few microns and to create element composition maps over a much broader raster area. Together, these capabilities provide fundamental compositional information for a wide variety of materials, including polymers and metals.

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“The Parker Steel management team is very impressed and satisfied with both the service and the professionalism of Laboratory Testing Inc. You were able to provide prompt, knowledgeable service that allowed us to get through a difficult situation and ship a very important order. Thanks for all your help and we will be in touch for future testing opportunities.”

Todd Meyer,
Quality & Operations Mgr.


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