Scanning Microscopy


PIXE (proton-induced X-ray emission) analysis and EPMA (electron probe microanalysis) give rise to similar energy-dispersive X-ray spectra, and so the processing of these spectra has common elements. Consequently approaches developed for EPMA may be of use in PIXE, one example being methodology for removing the continuous background. However various special aspects of PIXE result in a somewhat more complex problem. The range of X-ray energies of interest is wider and K X-rays of medium atomic number elements tend to be used where EPMA would rely upon their L X-rays; since the projectile penetration is much greater, matrix corrections are larger; due to PIXE's lower detection limits the range of peak heights in a given spectrum can be much greater and the influence of low-energy tailing on intense X-ray peaks becomes more important. Approaches taken to spectrum processing in PIXE reflect these aspects, and a variety of approaches have been developed which assure accurate extraction of peak intensities.

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