SEM-EDS is the go-to method for the characterisation of many materials and is being used increasingly to meet the characterisation challenges associated with some key areas of polymer research and manufacturing. SEM (Scanning electron microscopy) provides morphology information on materials, EDS (Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometry) provides information on elemental distribution and composition. EDS has an important role to play where characterising the distribution of elements is important or can be used as a tracer for the distribution of important constituents.
In the past 10 years EDS technology has undergone a revolution with the introduction of large area SDD detectors with sizes up to 170 mm2. This new hardware has increased the sensitivity of technique by more than 20x. This means faster analysis times and much lower electron doses, key for samples like polymers which can be easily altered by the electron beam in an SEM.