Here at Electro-Spec, Inc. we make sure that your components are thouroughly inspected for any abnormalities. one machine that is unique to our inspection services is our SEM/EDX unit.
What is SEM/EDX?
Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy-dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX) devices are capable of measuring a surface map of a material to be shown, as well as providing elemental information on the material based on X-ray emissions that occur during the overall process.
Scanning Electron Microscopy
The SEM portion of SEM/EDX devices utilizes focused beams of high-energy electrons that generate signals at the surface of the material.A filament which is at the top of the electron column generates a high current beam (0.5 to 30 KV) of electricity, which is simply a movement of electrons from one conductive surface to another. The beam of electrons is focused on the part. The stager which the part sits on is conductive and may be moved in the x, y, and z directions or rotated. The electrons hit the part with a predetermined energy and they cause x-rays to be emitted from the part with a certain amount of energy, due to an electron within the atom jumping from the outer shell to the inner shell. There is a detector within the unit that the x-rays hit after colliding with the part. An image will be displayed on the computer screen of the area that the electron beam is focused on. The image is in black and white because shapes and contours are displayed, not colors.
Small variations in texture and composition of materials are more easily detected with this technology. SEM allows manufacturers to detect barely visible material faults and take action before serious issues ensue.
Energy-Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy
During electron microscopy, X-rays are emitted from the material and can be used to determine the chemical composition of said material.
This is what allows an elemental composition analysis to be completed on the portion of the part which the beam of electrons have focused on. Depending on what the electrons hit (which element) they will produce x-rays which collide with the detector with a certain amount of energy. This amount of energy can be used to determine what the portion of the part being zoomed in on is composed of or what contaminants are present at the surface of the part. Compared to the typical X-ray detector, the EDX will go a small amount of depth into the part whereas a typical x-ray will go to a much further depth causing some invalid readings. A low error percentage (<10%) is associated with an accurate identification of the element which is being analyzed.
Neither units result in destruction of the part or change the material properties of the finished part in any way. Repeated analyses may be completed at the same location of a part.
Using a SEM/EDX device allows the chemical composition of the sample material to be precisely measured. This technology is primarily used to examine materials for defects, but it also allows manufacturers to ensure that the material’s chemical composition meets exact specifications.
To accommodate the demands of the medical, aerospace, military, and automotive industries, the quality of the materials utilized is critical to success. By employing SEM-EDX technology, Electro-Spec provides the assurance that your products will be the highest possible quality.
Contact Electro-Spec today to learn more about this innovative technology.