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Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS)

Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS)

Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS, EDX, EDXS or XEDS), is an analytical technique used for the chemical characterization of a sample. The addition of EDS during an SEM analysis allows additional understanding of the surface of a material. EDS is used to acquire the elemental composition of a sample.

Materials are exposed to X-rays, creating ionization of their component atoms. Ionization consists of the ejection of one or more electrons from the atom and may occur if the atom is exposed to radiation with an energy greater than its ionization energy. X-rays can be energetic enough to expel tightly held electrons from the inner orbitals of the atom. The removal of an electron makes the electronic structure of the atom unstable, and electrons in higher orbitals move into the lower orbital to fill the hole left behind causing energy to be released in the form of a photon.

The energy of the photon is equal to the energy difference of the two orbitals involved. Thus, the material emits radiation, which has an energy characteristic of the atoms present.

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