A modular x-ray and electron beam system has been constructed to accomplish most standard types of x-ray analysis automatically. The system includes a vertical powder diffractometer, a vacuum spectrograph, a four-axis single-crystal diffractometer and an electron microprobe with four spectrometers. The system is controlled by a single computer with auxilliary drum storage. The powder diffractometer has automatic goniometer drive, automatic sample changing with computer cataloging of samples and automatic variable divergence slit. The x-ray spectrograph is a standard unit with added 100 KV capability, automated goniometer drive, eight or 32 position sample changer, six-analyzing-crystal changer, collimator changer, and detector changer. All functions including sample number cataloguing are computer controlled. The four-axis single crystal diffractometer has all functions computer controlled and includes peak search option. The electron microprobe/scanning electron microscope has all spectrometers, x, y, z stage motions and sample changer controlled by computer. X-Ray channels, beam current and sample current are automatically read-out. Control of probe functions and correction of mechanical errors in stage operation, are aided by a digital beam scanner with a light pen. Counting channels and computer interfacing are modular, and channel components are interchangable by the operator. Computer hardware may be expanded and the software is modular. Any combination of instruments up to eight may be operated.
The computer operates all instruments simultaneously in a time-sharing mode. Programs consist of operating system programs, individual instrument programs and data processing programs. The operating system drives all x-ray hardware, fetches programs and data from the drum, allocates data storage, queues final results for printing and performs other necessary executive functions. For qualitative analysis, spectra for each instrument are collected automatically in several modes and are stored on the drum. A variety of methods are used to remove background, strip unwanted peaks and find peak position and intensity. A.S.T.M. diffraction, spectrographic and special files are maintained on the drum. Quantitative analysis is executed automatically using a version of "MAGIC" on the electron microprobe and a multiple linear regression method for the spectrograph and diffractometer.