Conducting a Live Quantitative Linescan with the Octane Elite EDS Analysis System

Instruments Used

A live quantitative linescan is performed using the Octane Elite EDS Analysis System and APEX™ 2.0 Software for EDS.

Background

EDS Linescan mode gathers a spectrum across a line determined by the user. It is particularly effective for identifying gradients or compositional profiles inside a sample. The live linescan is depicted as a region of interest (ROI) by default to ensure simplicity in data generation.

The Y-axis of the ROI linescan profile is raw counts by definition, meaning the variation in the Wt% and/or At% of every element across the line cannot be directly interpreted.

Additional drawbacks of the ROI linescan are absorption and shadow artifacts, background contributions and overlapping regions for X-rays that are similar in energy.

To solve these challenges, a complete quantification routine can be performed on each point, and the linescan profile can be represented in At% or Wt%. For additional data processing, a spectrum can be acquired from any point on the line.

Materials and Methods

Traditionally, the collection of an ROI linescan has been required where the line is rebuilt as At% or Wt% at the post-processing stage because the production of At% or Wt% linescan is computationally demanding.

This results in longer data processing times and cannot provide the operator with an intuitive display of the compositional differences throughout the line at the data collection stage. The entire quantification routine is simultaneously performed with the live data collection using the Live Quant for Linescan Collections feature in APEX 2.0.

For simple data interpretation and visualization and high efficiency, the real-time quantitative numbers are directly presented as an overlay on the image. An example live Wt% linescan was acquired from a razor blade’s cutting edge.

Various coating types may be applied across the cutting edge of a razor blade to decrease friction, prevent corrosion, improve sharpness and increase strength.

Live Wt% linescan can be employed to resolve the overlapping Fe L line from the steel, the F K line from the polymer coating, and to assess the compositional variations over the cutting edge in real-time.

(left) ROI linescan across the cutting edge of a razor blade (The sharp edge is to the left). Y-axis tick labels = 0 – 200 K counts. 5 kV was used to scan the surface and excite F K and Nb L lines. The F K and Fe L curves look similar since their energy regions are highly overlapped. (right) Live Wt% linescan from the same line. Y-axis tick labels = 0 – 80 Wt%. The live display shows the quantitative numbers directly as an overlay on the image in real-time. The full quantification routine has resolved the artifact of the similar-looking F K and Fe L curves.

Figure 1. (left) ROI linescan across the cutting edge of a razor blade (The sharp edge is to the left). Y-axis tick labels = 0 – 200 K counts. 5 kV was used to scan the surface and excite F K and Nb L lines. The F K and Fe L curves look similar since their energy regions are highly overlapped. (right) Live Wt% linescan from the same line. Y-axis tick labels = 0 – 80 Wt%. The live display shows the quantitative numbers directly as an overlay on the image in real-time. The full quantification routine has resolved the artifact of the similar-looking F K and Fe L curves. Image Credit: EDAX

Summary

It was possible to capture live At% or Wt% linescan data that could not be acquired in historical versions of the software through the use of the Live Quant for Linescan Collections feature in the APEX 2.0 software.

Compositional differences across the cutting edge of a razor blade were revealed and overlapping X-ray lines between F K and Fe L were resolved in real-time. This tool delivers a significant advantage in enhancing the efficiency of any investigation.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by EDAX.

For more information on this source, please visit EDAX.

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