For many years now, the combination of the modern S/TEM system (scanning/transmission electron microscope) with the X-ray energy dispersive spectrometer (XEDS) has resulted in Analytical Electron Microscopes (AEMs) able to deliver both high-resolution imaging and elemental composition maps in the same instrument. This ability to correlate local elemental composition with microstructure has greatly broadened the applications realm of the S/TEM instrument. The boundaries of performance for many of these applications are now determined by limits in XEDS system detection sensitivity. In this article, we describe an AEM with greatly enhanced detection sensitivity due to a number of innovations in the system architecture, including: a high-brightness Schottky FEG source, four detectors integrated deeply into the objective lens, windowless silicon drift detector technology with shutters, and high-speed electronics readout. This new system architecture provides many performance benefits, such as improved light element detection, better sample tilt response, faster mapping, and especially enhanced system detection sensitivity.
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