Electron probe microanalysis EPMA



Silvia Richter

Group leader EPMA


+49 241 80 24348


  An electron beam microprobe at a workstation. Copyright: © A. Herwartz Microprobe of the model JEOL JXA-8530F

In electron probe microanalysis, EPMA, high-energy electrons are focused onto the surface of the specimen. Due to the use of a thermal Schottky field emitter, the focusing extends into the nm range. The penetrating electrons interact with the atoms of the sample and characteristic X-rays are produced, which can be analyzed with wavelength- and energy-dispersive spectrometers.

ESMA provides quantitative chemical analysis in solids of all types at the micro- to nanometer scale. Analysis is performed on cross sections or surfaces. With detection limits > 10 ppm, ESMA covers all elements from Be to U and achieves relative accuracies in quantifying compositions of 1 to 5 percent. .

A particular strength is the sensitive analysis of light elements Be to F. The local carbon content can be measured quantitatively up to 500 ppm.



Solid materials:

  • Application to all metallic and ceramic materials, semiconductors, composites, surface coatings/coatings, minerals, glasses.
  • Determination of elemental distribution with line or area analysis, for example diffusion zones, depletions, segregations, partitioning, precipitations, surface treatments. Accurate chemical phase analysis. Oxidation, corrosion, etcetera.

Thin films:

  • Determination of thickness , mass coverage, and composition of thin films in the thickness range 0.1nm < d < 1µm.
  • Analysis of complex multilayers

Software for modeling X-ray emission of complex structures, for example particles, lamellae and multilayers. Inverse modeling is also possible.


Application examples from practice

Carbon partitioning in Dual Phase steels

Nitridation and decarburization of a Mn-rich steel

Cobald-Copper Oxides formed at reaction zones of Ag-14CuO and BSCF

Thixoforming 100 Cr 6 - Steel Chemical Microstructure Analysis in combination with metallographic etching

Optimization of light sources for EUV microscopy-Chemical analysis of thin films and determination of film thickness gradients

Characterization of the γ-α phase transformation of a C45 steel - Quantitative carbon analysis of an austenite-ferrite microstructure

Chemical microstructure analysis to clarify the corrosion mechanism on a nickel-based alloy flame tube Ni-29Cr-4.5Fe-3.3Al (-Ti-Mn)

The following is an overview of the available microscopes for EPMA at GFE.


Electron microprobe equipped with a Schottky field emission cathode JEOL JXA-8530F

Electron microprobe equipped with a Schottky field emission cathode JEOL JXA-8530F Copyright: © A. Herwartz

built 2012

  • Five wavelength dispersive spectrometers
  • Multilayer crystals for soft X-ray detection
  • Spectrometers for high intensities and fast mapping
  • Two EDX systems with SDD technology from JEOL and Bruker
  • Lateral resolution 3 nm at 30 kV, 40 nm at 10 kV 10 nA and 100 nm at 10 kV 100 nA
  • Special equipment for light element analysis, especially for quantitative carbon analysis

Electron microprobe CAMEBAX SX 50

View of Electron microprobe CAMEBAX SX 50 Copyright: © GFE

built 1991

  • Four wavelength dispersive spectrometers
  • Multilayer crystals for soft X-ray detection

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