Insights from industry

EDS Detector for Routine SEM Analysis

insights from industryAnthony HydeEDS Product ManagerOxford Instruments

In this interview, Antony Hyde, EDS Product Manager at Oxford Instruments, discusses the hardware and software features of the Xplore.

Can you please tell our audience about Oxford Instruments – NanoAnalysis, and the markets you serve?

Oxford Instruments NanoAnalysis provides leading-edge tools that enable materials characterization and sample manipulation at the nanometre scale. Used on electron microscopes (SEM and TEM) and ion-beam systems (FIB), our tools are used for R&D across a wide range of academic and industrial applications including semiconductors, renewable energy, mining, metallurgy, and forensics.

What hardware features does the Xplore have that your other products do not?

With Xplore, we used the latest design advancements. We took the proven and advanced technology from its big brother, the Ultim Max, and incorporated it into the compact design of the Xplore. We created a high-quality compact detector capable of handling count rates in excess of 1Mcps, without compromising the quality of results. The Xplore system also includes AZtec's unique ‘Live Chemical Imaging’. This enables users to move around their sample while viewing a live image, x-ray maps, and spectrum capability. No other competitor system has this capability. The Xplore detector is also the only detector of its kind that, in the unlikely event of it being needed, it can be repaired on the customer's site. 

What are the benefits of these features?

The ability to work at higher count rates means that users benefit from increased productivity without any compromise in the quality and reliability of their results. ‘Live Chemical Imaging’ also means that users can not only investigate their sample quicker, but it also gives them confidence that they have a complete answer and that they haven’t missed anything. The innovative design of the Xplore detector not only means that it is one of the smallest EDS detectors available but in the rare event of a detector breakdown, instead of sending the detector back to the factory and leaving the user without a system for an extended period, the Xplore detector can be repaired on the customer's site; keeping downtime to a minimum.

What software platforms can be used for the Xplore?

Users have a choice of two software platforms...AZtecOne and AZtecLive. They can use either or both.

Tips & Tricks: How to use EDS Mapping in AZtecLive

What are the advantages of each platform?

AZtecOne is an EDS only software platform and was designed for users with little or no EDS knowledge. It has a simplified user interface, which is so easy to use that a new user can be trained and acquiring expert results in minutes. 

AZtecLive is Oxford’s flagship software and was designed for EDS and EBSD users with more varied and advanced requirements. It has a host of dedicated tools and software packages for a wide range of applications from determining thicknesses of coating layers with ‘LayerProbe’ to automated particle analysis over large areas with ‘AZtecFeature’.

Having the two platforms on the same system with the choice of 11 languages is ideal for multi-user environments, like in a university where the level of expertise and the application requirements can vary dramatically. 

Do you have an example of a specific application that the Xplore excelled in?

The Xplore system is ideal for general analysis in the SEM from Quality Control to Failure Analysis application wherever accurate results are required quickly.

What other advantages does the Xplore have over similar products on the market?

The Xplore system also has the capability to access our OI Sentinel service which is a cloud-based telemetry system that can monitor the Xplore hardware, monitor its performance, and predict failures, enabling a service intervention to prevent downtime.

We even have Live Assist which is an augmented reality support package that allows our engineers to assist a customer remotely and rapidly.

About Anthony Hyde

Anthony HydeAnthony is an EDS product manager at Oxford Instruments, where he helps design, develop, and market new EDS software and hardware. He has worked in the field of electron microscopy for the past 31 years, 20 of which have been with Oxford Instruments. A significant part of his time is spent speaking to users to find out what their applications are and what they really need from an EDS system.

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  1. Vik Cankar Vik Cankar Slovenia says:

    Is this system able to remote spectrum analysis of soil patches to presence of noble metals?

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