Quantitative Measurement of Iron-Silicides by EPMA Using the Fe L α and L β X-ray Lines: A New Twist to an Old Approach

Aurélien Moy, John Fournelle, Anette Von Der Handt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The recent availability of Schottky-type field emission electron microprobes provides incentive to consider analyzing micrometer-sized features. Yet, to quantify sub-micrometer-sized features, the electron interaction volume must be reduced by decreasing accelerating voltage. However, the K lines of the transition elements (e.g., Fe) then cannot be excited, and the L lines must be used. The Fe Lα 1,2 line is the most intense of the L series but bonding effects change its atomic parameters because it involves a valence band electron transition. For successful traditional electron probe microanalysis, the mass absorption coefficient (MAC) must be accurately known, but the MAC of Fe Lα 1,2 radiation by Fe atoms varies from one Fe-compound to another and is not well known. We show that the conventional method of measuring the MAC by an electron probe cannot be used in close proximity to absorption edges, making its accurate determination impossible. Fortunately, we demonstrate, using a set of Fe-silicide compounds, that it is possible to derive an accurate calibration curve, for a given accelerating voltage and takeoff angle, which can be used to quantify Fe in Fe-silicide compounds. The calibration curve can be applied to any spectrometer without calibration and gives accurate quantification results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMicroscopy and Microanalysis
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • EPMA
  • MAC
  • iron silicide
  • low kV
  • soft X-ray

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Quantitative Measurement of Iron-Silicides by EPMA Using the Fe L α and L β X-ray Lines: A New Twist to an Old Approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this