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In electron probe microanalysis or scanning electron microscopy, the Monte Carlo method is widely used for modeling electron transport within specimens and calculating X-ray spectra. For an accurate simulation, the calculation of secondary fluorescence (SF) is necessary, especially for samples with complex geometries. In this study, we developed a program, using a hybrid model that combines the Monte Carlo simulation with an analytical model, to perform SF correction for three-dimensional (3D) heterogeneous materials. The Monte Carlo simulation is performed using MC X-ray, a Monte Carlo program, to obtain the 3D primary X-ray distribution, which becomes the input of the analytical model. The voxel-based calculation of MC X-ray enables the model to be applicable to arbitrary samples. We demonstrate the derivation of the analytical model in detail and present the 3D X-ray distributions for both primary and secondary fluorescence to illustrate the capability of our program. Examples for non-diffusion couples and spherical inclusions inside matrices are shown. The results of our program are compared with experimental data from references and with results from other Monte Carlo codes. They are found to be in good agreement.
Accurate elemental quantification of materials by X-ray detection techniques in electron microscopes or microprobes can only be carried out if the appropriate mass absorption coefficients (MACs) are known. With continuous advancements in experimental techniques, databases of MACs must be expanded in order to account for new detection limits. Soft X-ray emission spectroscopy (SXES) is a characterization technique that can detect emitted X-rays whose energies are in the range of 10 eV to 2 keV by using a varied-line-spaced grating. Transitions producing soft X-rays can be detected and accurate MACs are required for use in quantification. This work uses Monte Carlo modeling coupled with multivoltage SXES measurements in an electron probe micro-analyzer (EPMA) to compute MACs for the L2,3-M and Li Kα transitions in a variety of aluminum alloys. Electron depth distribution curves obtained by the software MC X-ray are used in a parametrized fitting equation. The MACs are calculated using a least-squares regression analysis. It is shown that X-ray distribution cross-sections at such low energies need to take into account additional contributions, such as Coster–Kronig transitions, Auger yields, and wave function effects in order to be accurate.
A technique to characterize the native passivation layer (NPL) on pure lithium metal foils in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) is described in this paper. Lithium is a very reactive metal, and consequently, observing and quantifying its properties in a SEM is often compromised by rapid oxidation. In this work, a pure lithium energy-dispersive x-ray spectrum is obtained for the first time in a high vacuum SEM using a cold stage/cold trap with liquid nitrogen reservoir outside the SEM chamber. A nanomanipulator (OmniProbe 400) inside the microscope combined with x-ray microanalysis and windowless energy dispersive spectrometer is used to fully characterize the NPL of lithium metal and some of its alloys by a mechanical removal procedure. The results show that the native films of pure lithium and its alloys are composed of a thin (25 nm) outer layer that is carbon-rich and an inner layer containing a significant amount of oxygen. Differences in thickness between laminated and extruded samples are observed and vary depending on the alloy composition.