Simultaneous Microscopic Examination & Elemental Analysis


Functional Principle in Focus

In scanning electron microscopy (SEM), a focused primary electron beam is rastered stepwise across the sample. At each pixel, the reflected electrons are detected, yielding a microscopic greyscale image of the sample. There are two imaging techniques:

Backscattered electrons (BE) → material contrast

Secondary electrons (SE) → topography contrast

In addition, the primary electron beam triggers the sample to emit characteristic X-Rays. The elements in the sample as well as their respective modal weights can be precisely determined by analyzing the color spectrum in an EDX detector.

SEM-EDX Principle - Electron Source and Detectors


  • Investigation of damage and wear on a microscopic level
  • Analysis of aging, corrosion and oxidation of components
  • Determination of the origin of the particles, chips and particles leading to failure
  • Particle analysis for the determination of the technical cleanliness
  • Analysis of non-metallic inclusions in steels and other metals
  • Error analysis in the delamination of coatings and paints
  • Investigation of electrical contact problems
  • Analysis of surfaces and coatings
  • Material determination and microstructural analysis

Small Picture Gallery

Video Tutorial

Scanning Electron Microscopy

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rainer Schwab, University of Karlsruhe