Generation of X-Rays in the SEM Specimen

  • Joseph I. Goldstein
  • Dale E. Newbury
  • Patrick Echlin
  • David C. Joy
  • Charles E. Lyman
  • Eric Lifshin
  • Linda Sawyer
  • Joseph R. Michael


The electron beam generates x-ray photons in the beam–specimen interaction volume beneath the specimen surface. X-ray photons emerging from the specimen have energies specific to the elements in the specimen; these are the characteristic x-rays that provide the SEM’s analytical capabilities (see Fig. 6.1). Other photons have no relationship to specimen elements and constitute the continuum background of the spectrum. The x-rays we analyze in the SEM usually have energies between 0.1and 20 keV. Our task in this chapter is to understand the physical basis for the features in an x-ray spectrum like that shown in Fig. 6.1.


Atomic Number Mass Absorption Vacant State Shell Ionization Photoelectric Absorption 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph I. Goldstein
    • 1
  • Dale E. Newbury
    • 2
  • Patrick Echlin
    • 3
  • David C. Joy
    • 4
  • Charles E. Lyman
    • 5
  • Eric Lifshin
    • 6
  • Linda Sawyer
    • 7
  • Joseph R. Michael
    • 8
  1. 1.University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  2. 2.National Institute of Standards and TechnologyGaithersburgUSA
  3. 3.Cambridge Analytical Microscopy Ltd.CambridgeEngland
  4. 4.University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA
  5. 5.Lehigh University BethlehemBethlehemUSA
  6. 6.State University at AlbanyAlbanyUSA
  7. 7.Ticona LLCSummitUSA
  8. 8.Sandia National LaboratoriesAlbuquerqueUSA

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