A TESCAN MIRA3 Schottky field-emission scanning electron microscope with 4 30 mm2 silicon x-ray drift detectors which has been automated for particle and generic imaging and x-ray acquisition tasks. The microscope was optimized for high x-ray throughput (200 cps at 1 nA on Cu at 20 keV), low noise imaging and custom sizing algorithms to facilitate state-of-the-art particle analysis. The instrument is scriptable in Python using the SEMantics framework, an instrument control extension to NIST DTSA-II. On optimal samples, throughputs of 10,000 particles per hour are achievable with elemental sensitivity down to approximately 1 % for most of the periodic table.
The microscope has been used for studying environmental particles, forensics, particle size distribution characterization, standard development, large area x-ray spectrum imaging and quantitative compositional analysis. It was the first commercial SEM with 4 SDD x-ray detectors and the first instrument to acquire a spectrum image consisting of over 1 billion point spectra.
N W M Ritchie et al 2018 IOP Conf. Ser.: Mater. Sci. Eng. 304 012013