Since its introduction in 1968 on both the EPMA and SEM, the energy-dispersive spectrometer has become widely used from research laboratories to production testing. It has become the mainstay for microanalysis in many scientific disciplines. A discussion of energy-dispersive spectrometry (EDS) logically divides into two lines of development: X-ray detector/hardware and X-ray analyzer/software. Of the several types of EDS detectors, only Si(Li) and intrinsic germanium detectors (IG) will be covered in this review, as they are the most common on electron microscopes.
The 1960s— The use of a solid state EDS detector on an EPMA was first described by Fitzgerald, et al. in 1968.1 They realized at the time that the high collection efficiency of about 80% permitted analysis at lower beam current for the same counting statistics and electron dose on the specimen. The first installation of a Si(Li) detector on an SEM came later the same year.