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Common Sources of Error in Electron Probe Microanalysis

  • Kurt F. J. Heinrich (a1)

Abstract

In order to reduce the error of quantitative electron probe microanalysis, error sources in the preparation and measurement of specimens and standards must be minimized. These sources of error are described, and literature references for detailed study are given. A critical analysis is made of 150 analytical measurements of binary specimens previously discussed by Poole and Thomas. It is shown that the cases of serious errors reported by these authors are mainly due to poorly characterized or measured specimens and, in. some cases, to the omission of characteristic fluorescence corrections. If these sources of error are eliminated, a much more favorable error distribution can be obtained through relatively simple correction calculations. Further progress in quantitative micro probe analysis is dependent upon measurements under well-controlled conditions and standard materials of experimentally proven microhomogeneity and reliably determined composition.

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