Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Materials Science and Engineering

Major Professor

David C. Joy

Committee Members

Raymond A. Buchanan, Carl J. McHargue, Charlie R. Brooks, Philip D. Rack


Microanalysis of submicron particles in the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is only possible by using low incident electron beam energies due to smaller interaction volume and suppressed beam induced charging. Such low beam energies must use L- and M- lines rather than the familiar K-lines. The information about the fundamental parameters of X-ray emission and transport at low energies is limited, so the use of L- and M- lines is problematic. The rate of generation of X-rays from an element irradiated at some energy E depends on the product of the ionization cross-section (E) and the fluorescent yield . Unfortunately neither of these quantities is well established independently, especially outside of the K-series of lines. Therefore the absolute X-ray generation efficiencies (photons /electron) were directly measured and parameterize d for a wide range of K, L, and M lines from different elements. It is anticipated that a complete set of such data would be of great value in applications such as spectrum simulation and standardless analysis.

Secondary electron spectra have been collected from both pure elements and from compounds examined under conditions approximating those found in a scanning electron microscope. Despite the presence of substantial surface contamination these spectra are found to be reproducible and characteristic of the underlying material. Typically the peak in such spectra is found to be at an energy of about 5 eV, and 50% of the total secondary electron emission falls within the range 0-12 eV. These data may be of value for the design of detectors for scanning microscopy and might have applications for microanalysis.

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