Useful links for Microanalysis

The following are online resources for EPMA, WDS, EDS, SEM topics that I gathered over the years (listed in no particular order).


Guidebooks and other publications:

Wiley Essential Knowledge Briefings

Wiley has a series of great, short guides called Essential Knowledge Briefings on the latest techniques, applications, and equipment used in analytical science and research laboratories. It requires registration but then they are free and available in different formats (pdf, mobi, epub). 

The guides are perfect for use in teaching and to share with students or other interested users. You can also often find hard copies at the Wiley exhibition or their cooperating partners at big conferences.


Tutorials and Webinars



Thermo Fisher





I always distribute "SEM Q&A", "SEM A to Z" and "A guide to scanning microscope observation"  in my class. They are also available in print from JEOL.



Microanalysis software

The EPMA - Method development tool is a database of maximum range wavelength scans of more than 170 of the most common standard materials. It was created to support lab managers and users of electron microprobe facilities with the setup of analyses programs as well as for teaching purposes.

The Virtual WDS program allows the synthesis of Wavelength-Dispersive Electron Probe Spectra using stored experimental spectra, to facilitate the selection of optimal positions for background measurements and assist in the choice of suitable counting strategies for specific analytical situations.

CalcZAF is an off-line EPMA calculation utility for both teaching and research:

Win X-Ray is a Monte Carlo simulation of electron trajectory in solid. This new Monte Carlo programs, Ray, is an extension of the well known Monte Carlo program CASINO, which includes statistical distributions for the backscattered electrons, trapped electrons, energy loss and phi rho z curves for X-ray. The newly added features in Ray are the complete simulation of the X-ray spectrum and the charging effect for an insulating specimen:

MC X-Ray is a new Monte Carlo program that is an extension of the Monte Carlo programs Casino and Win X-Ray since it computes the complete x-ray spectra from the simulation of electron scattering in solids of various types of geometries. MC X-Ray allows up to 256 different regions in the materials having the shape of spheres, cylinders and combinations of horizontal and vertical planes:

NIST DTSA-II is a multiplatform software package for quantitative x-ray microanalysis:

Nicholas Ritchie has a youtube channel with DTSA-tutorials:

 pyPENELOPE is an open-source software to facilitate the use of the Monte Carlo code PENELOPE and its main program PENEPMA in the field of microanalysis. It consists of a graphical user interface (GUI) to set up materials, geometry, simulation parameters and position of the detectors as well as to display the simulation’s result:

ProbeSoftware offers a suite of software solutions for quantitative microanalysis on an EPMA. It consists of Probe for EPMA, Probe Image, PictureSnapApp which I use for all routine and advance applications in my lab. More information can be found at:

Class notes: 



Posters for your lab:


Microanalysis and Microscopy listservs

  • JEOL listserv: maintained by me (contact me to subscribe). Listserv archives can be found here.
  • CamecaSX50 listserv: maintained by John Fournelle at the University of Wisconsin.
  • Microscopy listserv: maintained by Nestor Zaluzec. More information can be found here.



Tips and tricks for sample preparation

Mounting small grains (such as reference materials) can be difficult. Poor edge retention and shrinkage between the epoxy and grains can lead to charging or loss of the samples. Here are various resources around sample preparation of value for an EPMA/SEM lab: