EDS and WDS: the changing microanalysis market.Electron microscopy electron microscopy
Technique that allows examination of samples too small to be seen with a light microscope. Electron beams have much smaller wavelengths than visible light and hence higher resolving power. and spectroscopy have proved to be a powerful combination. Attached to electron microscopes, spectrometers enable an accurate analysis of a sample. Measuring the x-rays emitted from the sample under an electron microscope, electron dispersive dispersive /dis·per·sive/ (-per´siv)
1. tending to become dispersed.
2. promoting dispersion. spectroscopy (EDS (Electronic Data Systems, Plano, TX, www.eds.com) Founded in 1962 by H. Ross Perot (independent candidate for the President of the U.S. in 1992), EDS is the largest outsourcing and data processing services organization in the country. ) and wavelength dispersive spectroscopy (WDS Wds Words
WDS Wireless Distribution System (Joint Common Database)
WDS Wide-area Data Services
WDS Wireless Domain Services (Cisco Systems technology)
WDS Wavelength Dispersive Spectroscopy ) provide quantitative and qualitative elemental analysis Elemental analysis is a process where a sample of some material (e.g., soil, waste or drinking water, bodily fluids, minerals, chemical compounds) is analyzed for its elemental and sometimes isotopic composition. , line profile analysis and elemental mapping of the sample. The techniques have found their greatest applications in materials characterization research, and specifically, in the semiconductor industry. Current changes underway technically and commercially suggest new directions for EDS and WDS, resulting in increased competition that will redefine the market. The EDS market for initial systems is expected to top $105 million this year.
The largest competitors in the EDS and WDS microanalysis microanalysis /mi·cro·anal·y·sis/ (-ah-nal´i-sis) the chemical analysis of minute quantities of material.
the chemical analysis of minute quantities of material. market are Oxford Instruments Oxford Instruments plc is a United Kingdom manufacturing and research company operating in the fields of instrumentation, analysis, plasma processing, cryogenics and superconductivity. , EDAX EDAX Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy , which was acquired by Ametek last year (see IBO Ibo: see Igbo. 7/15/02), and Thermo Electron's Thermo Noran business unit. A number of smaller companies participate with specialized product offerings, applications and accessories, and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) The rebranding of equipment and selling it. The term initially referred to the company that made the products (the "original" manufacturer), but eventually became widely used to refer to the organization that buys the products and agreements. Among these companies are EVEX Analytical, 4pi Analysis, Princeton Gamma Tech and Rontec.
The semiconductor slump and increasing technical demands have imputed Attributed vicariously.
In the legal sense, the term imputed is used to describe an action, fact, or quality, the knowledge of which is charged to an individual based upon the actions of another for whom the individual is responsible rather than on the individual's sales in the last two years, increasing competition and the demand for product differentiation Product Differentiation
A source of competitive advantage that depends on producing some item that is regarded to have unique and valuable characteristics. . "With the downturn of industry in general, the competition has got a lot steeper," says Del Redfern, EDAX product manager for Material Characterization Tools, who also thinks this has generated pressure on prices. "We're looking at more of the higher end systems to differentiate ... to be able to maintain our prices." Oxford Instruments Analytical's Marketing Director Dan Varnam tells IBO that the slowdown in the semiconductor industry has clearly affected the microanalysis business. However, sales of EDS and WDS microanalysis have seen growth in the US and Japan.
Competition has also come in the form of the electron microscope suppliers themselves. FEI FEI
Fédération Équestre Internationale. , Hitachi, JEOL JEOL Japan Electron Optics Laboratory and LEO offer scanning electron microscope scan·ning electron microscope
n. Abbr. SEM
An electron microscope that forms a three-dimensional image on a cathode-ray tube by moving a beam of focused electrons across an object and reading both the electrons scattered by the object and and transmission electron microscope models equipped with their own brand EDS instruments. Only JEOL manufactures its own EDS for its models. Although most of these such offerings are the offspring of OEM agreements with EDS manufacturers, with the exception of JEOL, they nonetheless result in more units in the marketplace.
Driving the latest technical developments for EDS and WDS are resolution, throughput and ease of use. How EDS and WDS vendors meet current technical challenges and market them will decide their fate in the marketplace. With the increasing usage of low voltage SEM (below 5keV) for lighter elements and more thorough analyses, EDS techniques have had to evolve to provide greater resolution. "One of the focuses in the last 12 months has been to develop tools to look at low voltage EDS and x-ray analysis," says Mr. Redfern. According to Mr. Varnam, working at lower accelerating voltages, notably in semiconductors, is one of the main technical challenges for EDS currently. At low voltages, especially among elements used in combination for semiconductors, identification of elements, particularly when overlapped, is challenging.
For both Oxford Instruments and EDAX, redesigned detectors, electronics and software have increased higher resolution for low voltage analysis. For Oxford Instruments, says Mr. Varnum, its new INCAx-sight detector and pulse processor provide guaranteed resolution at 2,500 counts per second for light elements (fluorine fluorine (fl`ərēn, –rĭn), gaseous chemical element; symbol F; at. no. 9; at. wt. 18.998403; m.p. −219.6°C;; b.p. −188.14°C;; density 1. , carbon) as well as for the traditional benchmark of manganese. This higher count rate technology also provides stable output across the range of count rates obviating ob·vi·ate
tr.v. ob·vi·at·ed, ob·vi·at·ing, ob·vi·ates
To anticipate and dispose of effectively; render unnecessary. See Synonyms at prevent. the need to recalibrate at each count rate. For low energy analysis, EDAX offers its Polaris microcalorimeter EDS detector. It is "an energy dispersive system that uses transition edge sensors as the detectors. These sensors are operated at superconductive temperatures," says Mr. Redfern, who adds that on certain designed detectors, resolutions of 3-4 eV are possible.
Another answer to improving resolution for low voltage analysis is WDS. While WDS provides higher resolution, it only measures one wavelength at a time, making it too slow and narrowly focused for many traditional EDS applications. But EDS in combination with WDS, as well as modifications of WDS have opened up applications. In July, EDAX signed an exclusive agreement with Parallax parallax (pâr`əlăks), any alteration in the relative apparent positions of objects produced by a shift in the position of the observer. In astronomy the term is used for several techniques for determining distance. Research to sell its low energy WDS instrument, the LEXS (low energy x-ray spectrometer), for low energy microanalysis. According to Parallax Research, its low energy WDS produces higher count rates, can scan for a particular resolution or element, and is capable of faster peak scan and background scans. For improved resolution using WDS, Oxford Instruments offers the INCA Energy+, a combined EDS and WDS platform. Thermo Noran employs its parallel beam spectrometer for low voltage analyses in its Ibex WDS and its MAXray WDS.
Also increasing the competitive landscape are the latest advances in detectors. The growing demand for liquid nitrogen free detectors has increased product offerings in this area, as well as competition. Nitrogen free detectors provide a safer, easier and cleaner alternative to regular detectors. Recent product releases includes Rontec's X Flash detectors, which are cooled using an integrated single stage thermo-electric cooling system, Princeton Gamma Tech's Sahara silicon drift detector, and Horiba's latest model introduced in August. Waiting in the wings as the next step forward for the detector market are silicon drift detectors. "I think one big thing we'll see over the next few years, maybe five years, is the development of the silicon drift detector," says Mr. Redfern. Mr. Varnam says, "The arrival of commercially acceptable silicon drift detectors is finally happening. While its performance is far too low to attract most users, this is a clear direction for the future."
Driven by the needs of the semiconductor industry, improvements in resolution and throughput for EDS and WDS have rapidly progressed. They have also opened up new applications in areas such as forensics See computer forensics. , steel, magnetic media and environmental filters. But key to the advancement of such industrial applications as well as academic needs has been software.
Software has become an important way to differentiate products for EDS and WDS manufacturers. Mr. Redfern, EDAX' product manager for Material Characterization Tools, tells IBO, "we change our software at least every six months." Joe Carr, Oxford Instruments' vice president of North American North American
named after North America.
North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.
North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus. Sales, also says software is key to making the technique accessible and flexible and is necessary for the multiple user labs that have become common place. "Our software was developed not only for ease of use but was developed to make it easy for us to customize different products that meet the demand of our different OEM customers," he adds.
The latest generation of software for EDS and WDS microanalysis emphasize simple interface, sophisticated mapping and imaging choices, advanced correction techniques, and greater user customization. EDAX' GENESIS 2.5 software adds electronic signature and audit trial features. Oxford Instruments' new INCA Feature application for particle analysis emphasizes customization, image acquisition and productivity with new software features.
Software has also opened up the WDS market, says Mr. Carr. "In the past, wavelength dispersive was seen as difficult to use; it was a much more complicated detector mechanism. With the software now, we essentially treat an ED and WD detector the same in terms of how the customer interfaces with that detector. The software is essentially transparent."
The INCA Feature also exemplifies the move toward application packages for EDS and WDS that the demand for ease of use have necessitated. "What's going to happen in the short term is that companies like ourselves will offer solutions to particular problems ... we can develop applications designed around one particular problem that the customer has," says Mr. Redfern, citing EDAX' particle analysis package. The new approach is also embodied in Thermo NORAN's latest microanalysis offering, the NORAN System SIX X-ray microanalysis package. It features a unified, single software program, an intuitive interface, more automatic features and the new COMPASS statistical analysis package.
While the lull in the semiconductor market may have impacted sales for EDS and WDS microanalysis instruments, technical developments continue to advance, increasing competition in an already tight market and extending product applications. For EDS and WDS, the future lies not only in the return of the semiconductor market but in easy-to-use systems fitting the latest applications, such as gunshot residue, and markets, such as nanotechnology (see page 8). In addition, the ability to overcome technical limitations, competition from other techniques, and the direction of the SEM and TEM TEM
1. transmission electron microscope.
3. transmissible encephalopathy of mink. market will continue to play a role in the future.