Insights from industry

Making Fully Integrated EDS and EBSD Affordable and User-Friendly

insights from industryDaniel GoranEBSD Senior Product ManagerBruker

In our latest interview, AZoM speaks with Daniel Goran, Senior Product Manager for EBSD at Bruker, about making fully integrated EDS and EBSD affordable and easy to use by combining COXEM’s new EM-40 Tabletop SEM with Bruker’s QUANTAX ED-XS system.

Could you please introduce yourself and tell us about your background in EBSD?

I am a metallurgical engineer with a PhD in severe plastic deformation of FCC metals. I have been using EBSD since 2003, first in academia and research environments and later in the industrial environment. I have authored/co-authored multiple peer-reviewed papers and patents focused on EBSD-related methods and solutions.

At Bruker, I am responsible for defining the EBSD product roadmap. I am also deeply involved in various R&D projects with internal and external teams. I represent Germany as an EBSD expert in the ISO committee and work on various EBSD-related projects.    

Can you explain what EBSD is and why this capability is significant?

EBSD is a powerful SEM-based technique that provides the local crystallographic orientation and phase with a spatial resolution down to a few tens of nanometers. This makes it a valuable tool for researchers and engineers working on understanding the relationship between the properties of crystalline materials and their internal structure, with the aim of refining processing to obtain maximum performance of final components.

Please could you give a brief overview of the COXEM EM-40 Tabletop SEM?

The EM-40 is the ideal platform for performing both EDS and EBSD analysis due to its flexibility and suite of advanced features. It has a magnification range of 13 – 250,000x, a large depth of field, and accelerating voltages from 1 kV to 30 kV, selectable in 1 kV steps. These, coupled with 4 user-selectable apertures, assure optimum conditions for high-quality imaging.

Powered by NanoStation 5.0 software, the EM-40 includes a suite of automated functions that simplify operations and help novice users achieve consistent results. Advanced image analysis tools, like line profile analysis, help more accurately determine particle size when working at the nanoscale.

The EM-40 with the ED-XS system installed. Image Credit: COXEM

Bruker designed the QUANTAX ED-XS system including the eFlash XS compact EBSD detector specifically for tabletop electron microscopes. Can you explain how this system integrates with COXEM’s EM-40?

Conventional EBSD detectors have two major characteristics that make them unsuitable for tabletop SEMs. First, from a technical perspective, they are very heavy and bulky. Second, and most important, a conventional EBSD detector is significantly more expensive than a tabletop SEM.

When designing eFlash XS, the EBSD part of the QUANTAX ED-XS package, we had to find solutions to all these challenging points. The eFlash XS EBSD detector and the XFlash®  7 EDS detector integrate perfectly on a single port on the right-hand side of the EM-40. To improve the user experience and system performance, Bruker and COXEM have designed a pre-tilted sample holder that offers both ideal sample-detector geometry and safe and easy operation. Last but not least, and to the best of my knowledge, the EM-40 is the only tabletop SEM featuring “dynamic focus”, a capability that is required when analyzing highly tilted samples, i.e. the EBSD geometry.

The eFlash XS EBSD Detector. Image Credit: Bruker

Why do users need EBSD on their tabletop SEMs? What is the significance for users?

Whether it is a routine EBSD measurement or a simple check of sample preparation quality, EBSD on a tabletop SEM provides the same kind of result as EBSD on a conventional SEM but at a fraction of the cost. Since EBSD has become a ubiquitous technique, having access to it on a tabletop SEM will help increase the rate at which research and technology advances simply because more people will have easier access to it.

EBSD is known for being a knowledge-intensive technique. How has combining the EM-40 and QUANTAX ED-XS simplified the analysis process?

EBSD is indeed a knowledge-intensive technique, but so is driving a car compared to walking. Many people choose to learn how to drive simply because it comes with benefits, e.g. comfort and mobility improvements. In our case, we just made the option to learn “how to drive a car” easily accessible to more people. The combination of EM-40 with QUANTAX ED-XS detectors will offer an affordable and low lab space-consuming solution to managers of electron microscopy centers, which will, ultimately, result in a higher amount of EBSD and EDS-equipped SEMs available for students to practice and improve their skills on.         

How has the EM-40, when combined with the QUANTAX ED-XS, lowered labs' investment costs without compromising performance? 

A conventional integrated EBSD and EDS system may cost two or three times more than a tabletop SEM. This is the reason why, until now, most EBSD systems were installed on expensive FE-SEMs and, therefore, could only be purchased when generous budgets were available. QUANTAX ED-XS is a package of hardware and software that offers most capabilities of a conventional integrated EBSD & EDS system, at a fraction of the cost.

The affordability factor gets even bigger when we consider the price difference between an FE-SEM and a tabletop SEM like the EM-40. While there is no compromise in terms of data quality and integrity, the user will have to trade a bit of convenience, e.g. lack of motorized insertion/retraction on the EBSD detector, for the great benefits that come with affordability.          

What are some of the primary applications that the EM-40, when combined with the QUANTAX ED-XS EBSD & EDS system, can be used for?

Pretty much all routine EBSD and EDS measurements can be done on the EM-40 without compromising data quality and integrity. The combination of EM-40 with QUANTAX ED-XS system is a dependable solution for many applications. Here are the most common:

  1. Grain size and shape distribution
  2. Quantitative analysis of microstructures using various subsetting options
  3. Area fraction of deformed vs. recrystallized grains
  4. Grain boundary analysis
  5. Phase identification and distribution
  6. Orientation distribution / crystallographic texture
  7. Qualitative and quantitative elemental mapping

Where can readers find more information?

About Daniel Goran

Daniel is Sr. Product Manager EBSD at Bruker Nano Analytics in Berlin Germany. He has authored/co-authored multiple peer-reviewed papers and patents focused on EBSD related methods and solutions. He is also representing Germany as an EBSD expert in the ISO committee working on various EBSD related projects.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

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