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As the electron beam of the SEM is scanned across the sample surface, it generates X-ray fluorescence from the atoms in its path. The energy of each X-ray photon is characteristic of the element which produced it. The EDS microanalysis system collects the X-rays, sorts and plots them by energy, and automatically identifies and labels the elements responsible for the peaks in this energy distribution.
The EDS data are typically compared with either known or computer-generated standards to produce a full quantitative analysis showing the sample composition.
Data output plots the original spectrum showing the number of X-rays collected at each energy, as seen above. Maps of element distributions over areas of interest and quantitative composition tables can also be provided as necessary.