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Scanning Electron Microscopy - Custom Laboratory Testing Services

Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectrometry (SEM-EDX)

SEM-EDX is a combination of two approaches to analysis. A scanning electron microscope (SEM) uses an electron beam to view a sample, compared to a normal microscope that uses light. The higher energy of the electron beam permits viewing at much higher magnifications than are possible with light. Energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry takes advantage of the phenomenon that when a material is irradiated with a high energy electron beam, the sample will emit x-rays. The x-rays have energies that are characteristic of the elements being irradiated. This permits identification of the elements present in anything that we can view in the SEM.

Scanning Electron Microscopy

Sometimes small particles are observed in beverages or drug solutions where they don’t belong. To correct the problem, the manufacturer needs to know what the particles are. Here is a tiny particle found in a water bottle. (Fig. 3)

The spectrum was identified as a chlorine corrosion product of zinc and iron. The manufacturer was able to locate the corroding metal fitting and replace it. (Fig. 4)

Particle Chemical Evaluation
Fig. 3 - SEM-EDX Particles
Spectrum Analysis
Fig. 4 - SEM-EDX
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