Nicholas Ritchie, Dale E. Newbury, Michael J. Mengason, Heather Lowers
It is a great time to be a microanalyst. After a few decades of incremental progress in energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS), the last decade has seen the accuracy and precision surge forward. Today, the question is not whether EDS is generally useful but to identify the types of problems for which wavelength spectrometry remains the better choice. The full extent of EDS's capabilities has surprised many. Low Z, low energy, and trace element detection have been demonstrated even in the presence of difficult peak interferences. In this paper, we will summarize the state-of-the-art and investigate a couple of extremely challenging problem domains, analysis of natural rare-earth element bearing minerals and nickel silicides.