Elemental Mapping of Niobium in Engineering Steel

Niobium (Nb) is extensively studied as an additive in microalloyed engineering. Addition of Niobium in steel is known to significantly improve its hardness and corrosion resistance which makes the material attractive for applications in aerospace, automotive and structural engineering. 

Here is presented an EDS mapping of Niobium microalloyed in steel acquired at a high count rate of 187.4 kcps at 10 kV with Bruker's XFlash® FlatQUAD EDS detector (Fig. 1). With a lower acceleration voltage and low beam current of 912 pA, effective spatial resolution of about 350 nm is achieved (Fig. 4) which is required to resolve the fine structure of Niobium with EDS. This application example presents a unique combination of speed and resolution with EDS technique using Bruker's XFlash® FlatQUAD detector.

Fig. 1: EDS map showing niobium (Nb) and chromium (Cr) distribution in engineering steel
Fig. 2: SE image of niobium (Nb) microalloying in engineering steel
Fig. 3: Niobium (Nb) distribution in engineering steel
Fig. 4: Concentration profile OR line scan of niobium (Nb) showing effective EDS spatial resolution of 350 nm (change in concentration from 4.20 to 4.55 μm)