ASTON’s Advanced Microscopy Laboratory is equipped with research optical microscopes with high resolution digital photography; a scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with a light element energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS); digital image analyzer and an ultra light load Knoop/Vickers microhardness tester.
Scanning Electron Microscopy
ASTON’s high-resolution scanning electron microscope (SEM) is a powerful tool used in failure analysis. The SEM can show the fracture origin and detailed fracture features. This is invaluable in determining the type of fracture that has occurred and in reconstructing the sequence of events involved in the failure.
Our SEM provides a number of benefits:
- Detailed three-dimensional images at high magnifications that allow us to characterize fracture surfaces, observe microstructures at extremely high magnifications and view otherwise unseen surface features.
- A large sample chamber that minimizes the risk of sawing through a fracture origin or other area of interest.
- A high performance light element detecting energy dispersive spectrometer to detect elements with atomic numbers of boron and greater.
- Elemental dot mapping
- Backscatter imaging
- SLICE EDS spectral matching database software
Our Leica S200 scanning electron microscope is well equipped with a large capacity stage, light element EDS detector, dot mapping capabilities and backscatter imaging. Our recently upgraded EDS system provides increased count rates and stability. We are assisting in developing the database for our new SLICE software. SLICE will instantly compare and match an unknown EDS sample to any of thousands of known reference standards and materials. Stay tuned for more news as we bring this on-line and expand our database.