Electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) is an analytical technique widely used for determining the elemental composition of solid specimens. It can produce maps showing the distribution of elements over the surface of a specimen while also accurately measuring their concentrations.
In combining two complementary techniques – wavelength-dispersive spectroscopy and energy-dispersive spectroscopy – in a single instrument known as a microprobe, EPMA produces a powerful analytical instrument. This has a wide range of applications, from studying the latest advanced solar cells to archaeological/geological material and metal alloys.
This updated Essential Knowledge Briefing provides an introduction to EPMA and its capabilities, as well as the latest instrumentation. It begins with explanations of the operation of the instrument, including details of why elements emit characteristic X-rays, and outlines the major steps in the development of EPMA. It also details various practical issues related to the instrument, describes potential problems that may arise and how to solve them, and provides examples of how EPMA is being used by scientists in their research. Finally, it presents prospective future applications and how the scientists developing these innovative applications help to ensure that EPMA continues to stand the test of time.