Lectures in theory of using energy-dispersive, X-ray analysis systems (EDS) will be reinforced by practical training on the instruments.

Who can enrol

Researchers, PhD and honours students in the earth, physical, biological  or biomedical sciences intending to obtain qualitative or quantitative (Z>11) chemical information from bulk samples (SEM) using Energy Dispersive X-ray analysis systems (EDS) at the UWA Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis (or other facilities) can undertake the course.

This course is a prerequisite for more advanced training in microprobe analysis techniques.

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Course outline

Lectures will cover the following.

Session 1

  • the theory of X-ray generation by electron bombardment of a sample
  • the detection of X-rays by Energy Dispersive Spectrometers
  • qualitative microanalysis

Session 2

  • standards-based quantitative EDS microanalysis
  • precision and accuracy
  • methods for assessment of data quality

Practical sessions, in groups of two to three will introduce the operation of the Oxford Instruments X-Max EDS detectors and AZtec software mounted on the Centre's SEMs for both qualitative and quantitative microanalysis.

You will have the opportunity to discuss your research project with a member of Centre staff.

You will learn basic EDS operation skills including:

  • calibrating the EDS detector
  • qualitative microanalysis (identification of elements present in the sample)
  • effects of instrument operating parameters and sample preparation on X-ray generation and detection
  • quantitative microanalysis for elements with Z>10 (plus oxygen)
  • qualitative X-ray element mapping
  • basic sample requirements for X-ray microanalysis (but not sample preparation methods).

Not covered in the course are more advanced topics such as wavelength dispersive X-ray microanalysis (WDS), analytical electron microscopy (EDS analysis of thin films in the TEM) and light-element (Z<10) X-ray microanalysis.

Detailed information on sample preparation techniques in the physical and biological sciences is not included.

Contact hours

  • Lectures: four hours
  • Laboratories: four hours
  • Laboratory times will be advised.

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Course materials

Lecture notes and supporting documentation will be provided as downloadable files one week before the start of the course. Many additional materials can be found in the UWA Library.

We recommend:

  • Scanning electron microscopy and X-Ray microanalysis, Goldstein, J. et al, 2003. 3rd Ed. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers
  • Electron microprobe analysis and scanning electron microscopy, in Geology, Reed, S.J.B., 2005.  2nd Ed. Cambridge University Press

The Library also has a set of DVD recordings of microscopy workshops run by the Microscopy Society of America. Anyone planning to use microscopy in their research will find these useful for both basic and advanced information.

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Successful completion of the basic SEM training course is a pre-requisite for the EDS Microanalysis course.

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Practical assessment will take place during the training laboratories on the instruments. 

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