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Improvement of Electron Probe Microanalysis of Boron Concentration in Silicate Glasses

  • Lining Cheng (a1) (a2), Chao Zhang (a2) (a3), Xiaoyan Li (a2) (a3), Renat R. Almeev (a2), Xiaosong Yang (a1) and Francois Holtz (a2)...


The determination of low boron concentrations in silicate glasses by electron probe microanalysis (EPMA) remains a significant challenge. The internal interferences from the diffraction crystal, i.e. the Mo-B4C large d-spacing layered synthetic microstructure crystal, can be thoroughly diminished by using an optimized differential mode of pulse height analysis (PHA). Although potential high-order spectral interferences from Ca, Fe, and Mn on the B peak can be significantly reduced by using an optimized differential mode of PHA, a quantitative calibration of the interferences is required to obtain accurate boron concentrations in silicate glasses that contain these elements. Furthermore, the first-order spectral interference from ClL-lines is so strong that they hinder reliable EPMA of boron concentrations in Cl-bearing silicate glasses. Our tests also indicate that, due to the strongly curved background shape on the high-energy side of B, an exponential regression is better than linear regression for estimating the on-peak background intensity based on measured off-peak background intensities. We propose that an optimal analytical setting for low boron concentrations in silicate glasses (≥0.2 wt% B2O3) would best involve a proper boron-rich glass standard, a low accelerating voltage, a high beam current, a large beam size, and a differential mode of PHA.


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*Author for correspondence: Chao Zhang, E-mail:


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