12.141 | January IAP 2012 | Undergraduate

Electron Microprobe Analysis


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week for 2 weeks, 4 hours / session


The electron microprobe provides a complete micrometer-scale quantitative chemical analysis of inorganic solids. The method is nondestructive and utilizes characteristic X-rays excited by an electron beam incident on a flat surface of the sample. This course provides an introduction to the theory of X-ray microanalysis through wavelength and energy dispersive spectrometry (WDS and EDS), ZAF matrix correction procedures and scanning electron imaging with back-scattered electron (BSE), secondary electron (SE), X-ray using WDS or EDS (elemental mapping), and cathodoluminescence (CL). Lab sessions involve hands-on use of the JEOL JXA-8200 Superprobe.


Permission of instructor.


Theory of X-ray Spectrometry

  • Electron-specimen interactions
    • Elastic scattering: Electron backscattering
    • Inelastic scattering: Secondary electron excitation, Cathodoluminescence, Continuum X-ray generation, Characteristic X-ray generation
    • Interaction volume
  • Matrix corrections
    • Atomic number, Absorption and Characteristic fluorescence corrections
    • Continuum fluorescence correction
    • φ(ρz) corrections


  • Detectors in the electron microprobe
    • Electron detectors: Everhart-Thornley and Solid-state diode detectors
    • Cathodoluminescence detector
    • X-ray detectors: Energy dispersive and Wavelength dispersive spectrometers
    • Analyzing crystals and proportional counters in WDS

Imaging Techniques

  • Compositional and topographic imaging
  • Elemental X-ray mapping
  • Cathodoluminescence imaging

Quantitative Analysis

  • Sample preparation
  • Wavelength dispersive spectrometry
  • Background and peak overlap corrections

Goldstein, J. I., D. E. Newbury, et al. Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-ray Microanalysis. 3rd ed. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2003. ISBN: 9780306472923.


The basis for the grade is completion of all the lab exercises (problem sets) and the quiz.

Course Info

As Taught In
January IAP 2012
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Notes
Problem Sets