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Operating mode of the EMPA

Thermally activated electrons are accelerated by means of high voltage and magnetic electron lenses focus the beam on the specimen. The resulting focal spot has a diameter of less than 1 micron. Electrons impinging on the solid sample give rise to a variety of interactions and secondary and backscattered electrons as well as X-rays are emitted. The characteristic X-ray spectrum is specific to each element and allows the distinct element identification of the specimen. For the qualitative X-ray analysis two different types of detectors are available: the energy-dispersive (ED) and the wavelength-dispersive (WD) system. Both types of spectrometers disperse the characteristic X-ray lines and the intensity of each X-ray signal is measured. Elemental concentration is derived by comparing sample intensities with standard sample signals. Mathematical corrections take all influencing physical variables into account, resulting in exact analytical concentrations. Analytical errors less than 1 % are feasible. To obtain information about the spatial element concentration element distribution maps can be archived.

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