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Published March 1, 2003 | public
Journal Article Open

Elemental surface analysis at ambient pressure by electron-induced x-ray fluorescence


The development of a portable surface elemental analysis tool, based on the excitation of characteristic x rays from samples at ambient pressure with a focused electron beam is described. This instrument relies on the use of a thin electron transmissive membrane to isolate the vacuum of the electron source from the ambient atmosphere. The major attributes of this instrument include rapid (several minutes) spectrum acquisition, nondestructive evaluation of elemental composition, no sample preparation, and high-to-medium (several hundreds µm) spatial resolution. The instrument proof-of-principle has been demonstrated in a laboratory setup by obtaining energy dispersive x-ray spectra from metal and mineral samples.

Additional Information

©2003 American Institute of Physics. (Received 5 June 2000; accepted 16 October 2002) The authors thank T. Van Zandt for suggesting the experiment, E. Hagen, W. Kelliher, T. Elam, and A. Kelly for useful discussions, and M. Buehler for help with detector calibration. S. Grannan and N. Bridges analyzed the use of the AEXS for Mars exploration. This work was supported by the NASA Cross Enterprise Technology Development and Planetary Instrument Definition and Development Programs, and by the Air Force office of Scientific Research.


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