The determination of absolute concentrations of elements in thin (0.1 μm) sections of biological tissue by X-ray microanalysis in the scanning electron microscope and calibration with monoenergetic alpha particle scattering techniques

John H Broadhurst, M. Bacaner, M. Fuhr, J. S. Lilley, M. Macres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The reproducibility of relative elemental concentration data has been determined for hydrated frozen thin sections of a typical biological tissue (e.g. rabbit psoas muscle) when measured by X-ray microanalysis in the scanning electron microscope. Procedures are described to produce thin film calibration standards for the scanning electron microscope so that absolute molar concentrations of elements in such sections can be obtained from the non-dispersive X-ray spectra. The thin carbon films containing the calibrating elements are bombarded by monoenergetic alpha particles from a tandem Van de Graaff accelerator. By analysis of elastic scattering, the thickness and absolute concentration of elements may be obtained and quantitatively related to thin tissue sections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Electron Microscopy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1980



  • Biological section
  • Element concentration
  • Scanning electron microscopy

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