Analysis of a Polymer Sample Containing Nanoclay Particles

This application example discusses EDS maps obtained from a low density polyethylene composite with organoclay (organically modified montmorillonite) nanoparticles, obtained with the XFlash® FlatQUAD. The clay particles have formed large agglomerates. (Sample courtesy: D. P. da Silva Dalto, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).


All images show an overlay of the secondary electron image with a mixed element map of carbon (polymer) and Si (nanoclay). All maps were acquired with 3 kV, 220 pA beam current and 300 s acquisition time. The XFlash® FlatQUAD produced an ICR of 16 kcps, while the ICR of the conventional 30 mm2 SDD varies between 0.5 and 1.4 kcps.The green rectangles in maps indicate the area of the map with the next higher resolution.

A map with the conventional SDD is shown for comparison in the second image, shadowing can be seen. The size of the first two maps is 1024 × 768 pixels with 224 nm pixel size. The third image (from left) shows sample detail as indicated in the first one, 45 nm pixel size. The fourth map contains detail from the third, 24 nm pixel size and the fifth detail from the fourth, 14 nm pixel size.