Particle Identification - EDS
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Particle Identification eds_banner1

Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDS/EDX)

Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS or EDX) is an analytical technique used to identify and characterize the elemental composition of a material. Using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) equipped with an x-ray detector, atoms within a sample are excited by an electron beam. This beam interacts with the atom, displacing an electron out of its shell and leaving behind a void that is filled by another electron from a higher energy level. The energy released during this event correlates to individual elements while the proportional counts relate to the quantity of the element. Some elements may have emission energy overlaps; however, secondary emissions can be used to distinguish one element from another. The cumulative spectrum of the emission energies for an element is unique to that element so it can be used to supplement identify unknown particles in a sample or determine sample composition.

EDS technology from Particle Technology Labs is useful for analyzing the elemental composition of sample material for elements of atomic mass 12 (Carbon) and higher. EDS can also be used to quantify the elemental composition of a sample. Results can be used to supplement foreign material identification, process troubleshooting, and de-formulation. EDS is recognized by numerous standards and guidance agencies, including the ISO, ASTM, and USP.

Note, to be analyzed by EDS, sample material must be able to be dried down prior to analysis. Material types we test include metals, metal oxides, unknowns, pharmaceuticals, proteins, ceramics, and more.

Due to the complex nature studies relating to identification, PTL recommends reaching out to discuss your testing needs to evaluate the suitability of this analysis for your material.

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  • Elemental composition
  • Target individual particles
  • Detection of metal atoms


  • Particulate must be dry prior to analysis
  • Determines elemental composition for elements of atomic mass 12 (carbon) and up
  • This technique does not offer full chemical composition analysis
  • Background signal for smaller materials affecting composition percentages

Sample Requirements

For solid samples, the ideal sample amount is up to 500 mg.

For liquid samples, particulate must be captured and dried before analysis.

For additional questions on your sample needs, please contact us to share specifics about your sample and options for suitable sample quantities.

Detection Range

Samples must be less than 25 mm in diameter. Target size will be dependent on the ability to resolve the particles. Feel free to contact us for further discussion.

Data Reported

A standard EDS package includes lower resolution backscatter SEM images of targeted areas of the sample, and a summary of the elemental analysis results for those targeted areas. Please reach out to discuss available options in more detail.


PTL uses the JEOL Neoscope II for our Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS/EDX) analyses.

JEOL NeoScope II

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