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Chemical Phase Analysis of a Layered Structure

In many cases it is advantageous to process element maps further and check for the existence of phases of different chemical content and obtain a clearer picture of a specimen. This is demonstrated with a quantitative map of a multi-layer sample in cross-section. The first image in the gallery shows the quantitative mixed element map of the sample. The map has a fairly "noisy" appearance and does not yield clear information. Three areas were defined containing representative parts of the region of interest for applying phase analysis, two large rectangles and a smaller circular area were marked to be used in the phase analysis, here just for demonstration of Bruker’s ESPRIT software feature ‘Autophase’.

The ‘Autophase’ option can be started in the "Objects" mode. It can use the defined regions as reference in a principal components analysis to find similarly composed regions in the map and assign them to phases of specific chemical content. The result is shown in the second image in the gallery. Two phases differing in Zn and Cd content can be distinguished and located. The carbon contamination caused on the sample surface by line scans and point analysis and the spectral data of the underlying specimen have been assigned to a third phase by the ‘Autophase’ procedure. The grey map area on the left outside of the region of interest is "Unassigned" and differently composed compared to the other phases. The phase on the right apparently also contains carbon. The procedure can be modified, and its sensitivity refined to distinguish carbon containing phases.

Combined element maps of a layered system
Chemical phase map of a layered system