Part of the Oxford Instruments Group


AZtecLive is a revolutionary new approach to EDS analysis that enables a radical change in the way users perform sample investigation in the SEM. It combines a live electron image with live X-ray chemical imaging to give an intuitive new way of interacting with your samples.

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Application Examples

Metal 3D Printing

  • High-quality 3D printed metals require ultra pure (<99.9%) powder sources. The process of inspecting a powder is complex, as contaminants can be in trace concentrations
  • The example in the attached video shows a Titanium Alloy Ti6Al4V, which is in fine powder form. Ti6Al4V is a light alloy characterised by having excellent mechanical properties and corrosion resistance combined with low specific weight and biocompatibility. It is ideal for many high-performance engineering applications, for example in aerospace and motor racing, and also for the production of biomedical implants.
  • The video shows how AZtecLive is used to easily find Tungsten particle contamination from another Metal 3D printing powder.


  • Ni/Nb/Cr/Mo superalloys have excellent high temperature mechanical and anti-corrosion properties and are often used for applications such as:
    • Equipment for the production of super phosphoric acid
    • Plants for the treatment of radioactive waste
    • Offshore industry and seawater exposed equipment
    • Furnace linings.
  • This high-temperature mechanical performance and corrosion resistance is directly related to the distribution of small precipitates
  • The morphology, spacing, volume fraction, and distribution density of small precipitates all have an effect on the mechanical properties of the alloy, e.g.
    • Precipitates on grain boundaries can make the alloy brittle
    • The volume fraction of precipitates is directly linked to the strength of the alloy (too little or too much decreases strength)

Rocks and Minerals

  • Rock and mineral samples often contain many phases many of which are not easily distinguishable using backscatter imaging
  • Elemental fingerprinting using EDS is therefore normally required for phase identification in the electron microscope
  • Combining live X-ray mapping with live imaging provides the means of understanding the phase constituents of this type of sample in real time
  • This helps rapid identification of sample types, location of important features or finding important minor constituents

The ease with which the SEM stage can be controlled significantly affects how easily you can navigate around a sample.

The new Enhanced Sample Navigation update to the AZtecLive software gives:

  • Greater control over the SEM stage exactly where it is needed
  • Ability to use an optical image of a sample to control stage movements
  • Flexibility to switch between optical, individual electron images and Large Area Map montages for sample navigation
  • Powerful way to inspect samples using ‘Live Chemical Imaging’

This new functionality removes the necessity to continually go back and forth from the SEM and EDS system during an analysis. A simple ‘double click’ of the mouse on the image, and the microscope stage will move to the new area of interest. The new ‘stage control’ pop up window containing these images is available anytime and in all navigators.

  • Easy switching between images for immediate use
  • Easy set-up of areas for automated particle analysis and Large Area Mapping
  • Images automatically saved for future use


Remote Working 

AZtecLive’s enhanced sample navigation is ideal for remote working. Logging in to an SEM-EDS system is no longer an arduous and frustrating process.

  • Users have greater control within a single remote pc connection to carry out analysis and control the movements of the stage
  • Laboratory managers can set up a system with multiple samples for multiple remote users, greatly improving system usage
    • Remote users simply open the registered image of the samples loaded in the SEM, ‘double’ click on their sample and begin their analysis



Point&ID has been designed to take advantage of the high count rates generated by the latest SDD detectors to deliver accurate specimen information in real-time. Simply select the area to analyse, and it only takes a few seconds to acquire a spectrum:

  • Elements are identified using an improved version of our field-proven automatic PeakID routine
  • The composition is displayed in the unique MiniQuant using the accuracy of the new Tru-Q technology
  • Annotate and e-mail results directly from the software

Tru-Q® Analysis Engine

New Tru-Q technology takes standardless analysis to the next level and ensures that AZtec gives you the best ‘out of the box’ results

  • QCAL – Robust spectrum processing that works in all situations with no need for any background fitting adjustment
  • FLS – Complete detector and hardware characterisation for true standardless analysis
  • XPP – Matrix correction with proven accuracy beyond that possible with ZAF or Phi-Rho-Z
  • PPC - Automatic correction for pulse pile-up at high count rate, making accurate quant at 200,000cps a reality

Visualise element distribution along a line.

LineScan brings the concepts of AZtec real-time acquisition and reporting to the study of linear variations

  • Visualise LineScans clearly, quickly and easily
  • Flexible views make interpretation easy
  • View LineScans in stacked or tilted format
  • Normalise display to compare major and trace element variations easily

Incorporates TruMap technology ensuring that you will see real element distribution

  • Corrects for peak overlaps automatically
  • Enhances real elemental differences by removing X-ray background variation
  • Aligns image and LineScan for clear visual comparison
  • Normalised intensity scales make a comparison of major and minor elements simple

Utilise the accuracy and repeatability of Tru-Q to see quantitative element variations

  • No need to wait for lengthy data processing....see quantitative linescans live!
  • Quantitative results are shown in Wt% or At%
  • Table of results can be exported to Excel


  • Point spectra can be extracted from any of the linescans for further, more detailed, analysis
  • Data can be viewed in graphic form or as a table
  • Linescans can be binned to improve statistics

Combining and overlaying EDS Element maps on an electron image to make one informative coloured image is fast becoming a common way to view the distribution of elements in a specimen. But it’s important to know that the data behind this good-looking image is correct...

SmartMap spectral mapping brings the benefits of automatic qualitative analysis into two dimensions to identify elements and show their distributions. Now see how all elements are distributed in a specimen

  • No specimen pre-knowledge required
  • Maps for all elements identified and generated automatically
  • Single Layered Image highlights chemistry and phase distribution in seconds
  • Up to 4K SmartMap resolution to combine wide area and high-resolution studies

AutoLayer - a complex story made simple.
At the click of a button, AutoLayer takes the often complex information contained in a set of X-ray maps and turns it into a single image that helps you visualise both phase and element distribution in your specimen.

  • Instantly and automatically interprets your specimen
  • Highlights what’s important in a single image
  • Unravels the complexity of real specimens
  • Colours on the Layered Image correlate to the X-ray map colours


TruMap is a unique real-time mapping solution that takes advantage of the increased counts generated by the latest SDD detectors, offering a new level of data you can see the real element variation.

  • Eliminates artefacts
  • Corrects element overlaps
  • Removes false variations due to X-ray background
  • Everything operates in real-time

Spectrum Examiner

Spectrum Examiner enables small phases to be detected that would otherwise be overlooked

  • Automatically analyses a SmartMap
  • Highlights interesting energy regions in the sum spectrum where there is a significant variation in pixel counts.
Map sum spectrum

Specimen characterisation can often be time-consuming and requires a highly skilled operator to interrogate the data. At a touch of a button, AutoPhaseMap automatically finds areas of different characteristic composition from X-ray map data and determines the distribution, area, constituent elements and generates an easy to interpret Phase Image.

AutoPhaseMap is a new way of automatically creating a phase distribution map of a specimen.

During or after an acquisition, AutoPhaseMap automatically:

  • Turns X-ray map data into Phase Map data in seconds
  • Calculates and displays:
    • distribution of each phase
    • spectrum and composition for each phase
    • area fraction for each phase
  • Finds phases for all size ranges, including nanomaterials
  • Finds hidden phases, highlighting missing elements which are present in trace amounts

Making Large Area automated data collection an everyday occurrence

  • An easy to use wizard guides users through the setup process and ensures that even the most infrequent user can acquire a Large Area Map
  • Accommodates tilted specimens to ensure that images are always in focus
  • Images are automatically aligned during acquisition to ensure a seamless LAM dataset both before and after montaging
  • Acquire up to 1500 fields, each with a maximum resolution of 8K x 8K, and X-ray maps with a maximum resolution of 4K x 4K, to create an image dataset of up to 96 billion pixels and an X-ray dataset of up to 24 billion pixels
  • LAM is fully interactive during acquisition: enabling users to view all the data combined, and also zoom into the fine detail
  • An individual field can be interrogated and X-ray map properties modified. Changes can then be applied to all fields in the LAM ...even during acquisition!
  • Automatic system pause when a blown filament is detected - once the filament is replaced, acquisition can be resumed

LAM montages all the acquired data into a single SmartMap dataset with up to 64 million data points.

Exploiting the power of 64-bit processing, users can interrogate the montaged data in the same way as a standard SmartMap dataset, and:

  • Add/remove maps
  • Reconstruct deadtime corrected spectra from the SmartMap data and obtain accurate quant results
  • Create TruMaps and AutoPhaseMaps

Whether you are a newcomer or an expert user, setting up for a stable, drift-free acquisition, to re-locating points of interest in a previously analysed sample - to getting your report out to those waiting for it is made as quick and as easy as possible...

Some of the advanced AZtec features in this section:

  • Autolock - automatic drift correction
  • Image registration using AZtec acquired images for specimen navigation and relocation
  • Guided and custom operating modes
  • Step notes and Standard Operating Procedures
  • Reporting

Autolock provides a seamlessly integrated and powerful solution for drift correction.

  • Works in extreme situations, even on the nanoscale
  • Keeps you informed about specimen drift
  • Provides live updates of corrective action taken
  • A unique blend of predictive and reactive drift correction routines cope with different types of specimen drift

Guided and Custom operation modes to suit newcomers and experts

Guided Mode
Ideal for those who prefer a ‘step by step’ approach to analysis
Each step of the Navigator has a clear purpose
You can always see what is happening and what to do next

Custom Mode
Ideal for those who prefer the freedom and flexibility to do what they want, when they want
You decide what functionality you want to see and where you want to see it
Choose the visualisations that suit your task and expand them over as many monitors as you need

Step Notes are available on every Navigator step to help you get the most from AZtec in the quickest time possible

Help precisely where you need it
Easy to follow text and images ensure that you know exactly what to do next
Step Notes can be easily turned into Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
Define on-screen SOPs using text and images
By following an SOP, novice staff can be productive from the start, and achieve repeatable and reliable results every time

Integrated Reporting - flexible or structured, always fast

Reporting direct from the interface
A simple right click and data can be e-mailed directly to your customer

Dedicated export application
Export your data in the format and resolution you want

Print a professional report with a single button press
Comprehensive list of report templates tailored to each application
A dedicated ‘Site Report’ will print out all data acquired during a specimen investigation
Customise reports to incorporate your company logo

Want to create your own templates? AZtec’s new integrated report template generator allows you to do just that!

  • Simple easy to use interface
  • Create templates for use across multiple techniques
  • Create multiple page templates
  • Create templates for single or multiple users

Download Centre

AZtecLive & Ultim Max

AZtecLive takes the EDS technique from the static to the dynamic with real-time chemical imaging. AZtecLive is powered by Ultim Max, the next generation SDD detectors combining the largest sensor sizes with Extreme electronics to deliver unparalleled speed and sensitivity.

AZtecLive In Depth: Tru-Q

This application note describes the unique approach and technology used in AZtecLive EDS systems to provide automatic real-time element identification and composition determination

AZtecLive In Depth: TruMap

This application note shows how TruMap displays in real-time the real variations of elements in a sample. It describes how minor element variations in a refractory oxide containing slag sample created during clean steel manufacture can be studied.


Related Applications

Additive ManufacturingIdentification of Contaminants in Food Production and SoilStructural Materials and ComponentsBattery TechnologyMaterials for the Power Generation IndustryAnalysis of Environmental ContaminantsMaterial Composition and StructureFailure Analysis Imaging of Layered Polymer Structures and Failure AnalysisQuality Control and Chemical IdentificationElectron MicroscopyCounterfeit Pharmaceuticals

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