Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS)

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    Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS)

    Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS or EDX or XEDS) is a chemical characterization method used for the elemental analysis of a solid material. It is used to identify the elements in a sample (qualitative analysis) and determine their relative abundance (quantitative analysis). It can detect elements from carbon to uranium in quantities as low as 1.0 wt% of the sample. When coupled with techniques like Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy (STEM), EDS can provide simultaneous compositional information of the sample features. The EDS detector captures the characteristic X-rays emitted from the sample within the EM chamber to reveal the elemental composition. This can be used to perform point analysis, line scans, or map out the lateral distribution of elements across the SEM, STEM, or TEM imaged area. The spatial resolution of these elemental analysis areas can be as low as 10 nm, depending on the electron microscopy technique used.

      Common Uses

      • Surface mapping of polymer composite membranes
      • Characterization of polymer Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane
      • Elemental composition and toxic effect of nanoparticles
      • Detection of nanoparticles (for the improvement of the chemotherapeutic agents) in the drugs
      • Detection of metal contaminants in non-small cell lung cancer
      • Characterization of different isotypes of calcification in the tissues that can cause diseases
      • Investigation of hazardous heavy metals in agricultural land and human tissues
      • Analysis of organic to metal bonding failure modes
      • Examination of gunshot residue


      • Non-destructive analysis technique
      • The “spot” mode allows a full elemental spectrum in only a few seconds
      • Can be used in semi-quantitative mode to determine chemical composition by comparing a peak-height ratio to a standard


      • Energy peak overlaps among different elements
      • EDS with the Si-Li detectors protected by beryllium window cannot detect the lightest elements, typically below the atomic number 11 (Na)
      • Samples must be compatible with vacuum
      • The minimal detectable elemental concentration is approximately 10 ppm
      • Quantitative analysis can only be performed on bulk samples with a flat surface,
      • Not sensitive for elements present in concentrations < 1% by mass
      • Not capable of distinguishing between ionic and nonionic species


      • Metals
      • Nanomaterials
      • Polymers and composites
      • Biomedical research and diagnosis
      • Drug delivery and diagnosis
      • Geology
      • Forensic Science
      • Thin films and membranes


      • EAG Laboratories Inc.
      • Particle Technology Labs
      • Laboratory Testing, Inc.
      • Microvision Laboratories, Inc.
      • Atrona Test Labs, Inc.
      • RTI Laboratories
      • Polyhedron Laboratories, Inc

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