Nanotechnology

The world’s first commercial detector for instant chemical imaging

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Oxford Instruments today unveiled the world’s first imaging detector that combines backscattered electrons and X-ray imaging in a single technique – BEX. Unity enables researchers, scientists, and students to achieve instant visual and compositional analysis of samples simultaneously in a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).

Image Credit: Oxford Instruments

Traditionally, determining the arrangement of elements and composition of materials in SEM is an iterative and tedious process. This involves acquiring black-and-white electron images based on secondary electrons and backscattered electron signals. The X-ray signal is then used to determine the chemical composition. This is time consuming, especially since the user has to repeat this process repeatedly until an anomaly or area of ​​interest is found. However, with the Unity detector from Oxford Instruments and the innovative BEX technique, BSE signals and X-rays are captured simultaneously, allowing users to instantly observe the microstructure and chemistry of samples in full-color, high-resolution images.

Image Credit: Oxford Instruments

The game-changing Unity detector combines topography, crystallography, atomic number, and elemental information in a live high-resolution visual output. Users can easily explore samples, making sophisticated sample analysis simpler and faster than ever before.

The Oxford Instruments team has spent six years developing the Unity detector, revolutionizing workflows for sample analysis. Unity’s unprecedented detector speed provides accurate, high-resolution chemical mapping of an entire sample in just minutes, allowing users to quickly identify features and areas that require further investigation. By having this valuable cartographic data before detailed inspection, users can quickly move from initial instincts to scientific insights, opening up inspiring new research directions.

Introduction to the Unity BEX imaging detector

Video Credits: Oxford Instruments

Along with significant advancements in the way users perform sample analysis, Unity detectors enable faster sample throughput – in tests, Unity detectors have increased the productivity of microscopes by up to 100x.

Unity detectors are powered by Oxford Instruments’ market leading AZtec software, with TruQ for accurate element identification and compositional determination, including Pile Up Correction, TruMap for direct deconvolution, AutoID for real-time element detection, and AutoLayer for real-time image color optimization.

“Our Unity detector and BEX technique are absolutely amazing. Not only do we make the analysis of complex samples faster and easier, but we also help ensure the process is more robust and accurate, and give users more time to focus on the specific areas of their sample that need their attention. Unrivaled in today’s market, the combination of powerful hardware and software in the Unity detector brings new levels of certainty, reliability and speed to the scientific community, accelerating the journey towards scientific discovery.”

Dr Haithem Mansour, product manager at Oxford Instruments

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