Scanning Electron Microscopy


A previous study of urinary stones by a combined electron microscopy demonstrated the potential of scanning electron microscopy and X- ray analysis as an analytic tool for urinary stones. Electron diffraction was chosen for the final confirmation of crystals in the study. Although electron diffraction is highly accurate for this purpose, it is desirable to establish the sensitivity of X-ray analysis for the identification of stone components relative to the more commonly used methods. Eighty six consecutive urinary stones were analyzed by X-ray analysis and the findings were compared with those of X-ray diffraction, infrared spectrometry and chemical analysis. The results indicate that X-ray analysis exceeds X-ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy in its sensitivity for the identification of stone components several fold. This was largely due to the inability of the latter methods to detect apatite in more than half of the apatite containing stones. The findings in X-ray analysis had the best correlation with chemical analysis, which was applied mainly to the detection of apatite. X-ray analysis is particularly suited for the detection of rare and minor inorganic components of urinary stones such as silica and gypsum, and is obviously one of the most powerful tools for the analysis of urinary stones. Further application of X-ray analysis to urinary stone is likely to discern rare inorganic components of urinary stones overlooked by other methods.

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