Saturday, December 14, 2019

EDS (Energy dispersive X ray spectroscopy) for nanoparticle research

EDS xray technology

Energy dispersive x ray spectroscopy
Energy dispersive x ray spectroscopy (EDS, or EDX) is an important electron microscopy tool for materials characterization and is commonly used in a wide range of applications and industries from manufacturing to energy and resource management to consumer-packaged goods. Despite the wide use of EDS, the technique has limitations in certain applications, such as difficulty in obtaining high-quality images of polymers, catalysts, and other nanoparticles sensitive to damage from the electron beam. Next-generation Energy dispersive x ray detectors such as Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Dual-X have helped to meet these challenges. Today’s advanced EDS detectors are overcoming the barriers to EDS analysis by making it quick and easy to obtain quality results without requiring expertise and making it possible to obtain high-resolution images of beam-sensitive materials, which were previously unobtainable.

The ability to apply EDS acquisition and automated processing to a broader range of samples will enable taking nanoparticle research to new levels, paving the way toward new applications in industries ranging from food to medicine to textiles and energy research.

Function of EDS Xray

EDS is used to characterize the chemical composition of samples by taking advantage of the fact that every atom has a unique number of electrons that reside in specific positions, or shells, around the nucleus of the atom. Under normal conditions, the electrons in a specific shell have discrete energies. As an electron beam strikes the inner shell of an atom, it knocks an electron from the shell, leaving a hole. When the electron is displaced, it attracts another electron from an outer shell to fill the void. As the electron moves from the outer to the inner shell of the atom, it loses some energy and the energy difference generates an x-ray with an energy and wavelength unique to the specific element.

X-rays emitted during the process are collected by silicon drift detectors, which separate the x-rays of different elements into an energy spectrum. Software is then used to analyze the spectrum and determine specific elements contained within the sample.

Latest developments in Energy dispersive X ray spectroscopy

As the use of EDS expands to include beam-sensitive materials, automation breakthroughs are simplifying the technology, extending its applications. Fully embedded Dual-X EDS detectors enable:

Automated EDS tomography for fast access to 3D chemical information. The microscope can be set up to automatically acquire 3D chemical information overnight unattended.

STEM and EDS Maps software for automated acquisition of statistically relevant data on large area images at high resolution. Data from different imaging and analysis modalities are easily correlated including on-the-fly processing and statistics using Thermo Fisher’s visualization and analysis software Avizo.
An automatic correction for absorption, which adjusts for holder geometry and detector dimensions. The absorption correction is embedded into the company’s Velox software, making it possible to obtain accurate elemental quantification information.

These features make EDS far easier to use, extending the technique to more users, while increasing research productivity. After EDS maps are created, they are stored together with other microscopy information, making it easy to combine and correlate data captured from different microscopy techniques. This enables researchers to completely characterize samples using a single tool.

Potential development of EDS Xray in nanoparticle research

Next-generation EDS detectors are advancing nanoparticle research at institutions around the world. For example, researchers at University of Physics of Materials in Brno, Czech Republic used the detectors to investigate a sample where a large-area, high-resolution EDS map of gold-nickel nanoparticles were acquired in less than one minute. The non-toxic gold nanoparticle combined with the magnetic properties of nickel atoms are promising carriers of surface-anchored agents, which can attach to therapeutic drugs and precisely target them to specific cells in the human body using a controlled release. 

Researchers at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China, is using the detectors to map the effectiveness of nanoparticles such as platinum and cobalt as catalysts in the production of hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen is the most widely proposed fuel for use in fuel cell-powered cars, promising a new generation of vehicles that combine the sustainability of electric cars with the large driving range of conventional fossil fuels. Catalyst nanoparticles are needed to optimize the production of hydrogen fuel via photocatalysis. The catalyst uses the synergistic effects of platinum and cobalt nanoparticles to improve hydrogen productivity.

These are just two examples where next-generation EDS detectors, with their rapid ability to characterize beam-sensitive materials are leading to breakthroughs in nanoparticle\ research. In the future, we can expect to see high-resolution EDS imaging of a wider range of nanoparticles, which, in turn, will deepen our understanding of nanoparticles and their applications across a diverse range of industries. More News

For more information:
Yuri Rikers,
Product Manager Talos at Thermo Fisher
Scientific, Zwaanstraat 31 G/H, 5651
CA Eindhoven, The Netherlands, +31
40.2356000, yuri.rikers@thermofisher.
Reference : Advance materials processing November Edition 2019
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