Table-Top Electron Microscopy as an Analytical Tool for Materials Characterisation

The ability to quickly, easily and repeatably analyse compositional variations in samples is at the heart of many industrial and research questions. These questions may include whether a sample deviates from a norm, if contamination is present, or whether further in-depth analysis is required. The requirements of such analyses vary depending on the questions that are being asked. In some cases, requirements in terms of sensitivity and productivity are high whereas they are relatively modest in others.  

The Table-Top Scanning Electron Microscope (TTM), combined with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS), is a powerful tool for imaging and compositional analysis where high sensitivity and productivity is not required. As such, it may be utilised for applications including failure analysis, quality control and routine materials characterisation. This makes the analytical TTM an excellent tool for these investigations, either as a standalone unit or as a screening tool in a larger nanoanalysis suite.

In this webinar we will discuss the ever-increasing capabilities of the TTM when equipped with EDS, which include both manual investigation workflows and automated approaches such as particle analysis.  We will also discuss cases where analytical requirements exceed the capabilities of the TTM + EDS and it is necessary to move to higher specification instrumentation (e.g. W-SEM or FEG-SEM) equipped with large area EDS detectors. We will describe the point at which this crossover occurs with reference to a series of application examples, including a steel with features of different sizes. We will also consider the analysis of samples that sit well within the capabilities of the TTM including manual and automated analyses of samples such as paint, concrete, metallic wear debris, and additive manufacturing powders, demonstrating its wide-ranging capabilities.

 Application examples that will be addressed include:

·         Failure analysis

·         Quality control

·         Cleanliness in component manufacture

·         Microstructural characterisation of steels and other metal alloys

People who might be interested in this webinar:

·         Individuals involved in routine materials characterisation and screening

·         Managers of analytical facilities with a range of instrument capabilities

·         Those involved with the characterisation/quality control of a range of materials

Keywords: Materials characterisation, EDS analysis, table-top microscopes, steel, wear debris, TTM, screening, quality control, QC,


Anthony Hyde: 

Anthony Hyde 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 30 years, 19 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.

Rosie Jones:

Rosie Jones works as a Product Scientist for Oxford Instruments, specifically focusing on applications for EDS and WDS analysis. She has worked for Oxford Instruments since April 2019, whilst also holding a part-time research position in the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford. Rosies academic background is in Geochemistry, in which she routinely used SEMs, combined with EDS and EBSD detectors, to image and analyse geological samples for her research. She obtained a PhD in Geology from the University of Edinburgh in July 2014. In the Department of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Rosie also worked as an SEM lab manager, where she trained and assisted users from a wide range of academic disciplines, including materials and engineering.

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