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Glossary terms about Characteristic X-rays

Characteristic X-rays
X-rays with discrete energies reflecting the electronic configuration of the parent atom, produced after ionization of an inner electron shell and subsequent relaxation of the excited atom.


8 pages mention Characteristic X-rays

Background information - What is energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy?
Two types of X-rays result from these interactions: Bremsstrahlung X-rays, which means ‘braking radiation’ and are also referred to as Continuum or background X-rays, and characteristic x-rays
Bremsstrahlung X-ray generation
Two types of X-rays are produced by interaction of the electron beam with the sample in both the SEM and TEM: Bremsstrahlung (which means ‘braking radiation’) and characteristic x-rays
Characteristic X-rays
characteristic x-rays are produced by electron transitions between the electron shells. 
EDS spectral artifacts
X-rays coming into the detector can generate characteristic x-rays from the Si crystal. 
EDS spectral resolution
characteristic x-rays have discrete energies but in the process of detecting and measuring them the discrete lines spread into Gaussian peaks. 
Qualitative EDS X-ray microanalysis using SEM and TEM
characteristic x-rays from the coating material may overlap with X-rays produced from the elements in the sample, so carbon is the preferred coating material as it minimizes spectral interferences. 
Quantitative EDS X-ray microanalysis using SEM
The spectra are processed to remove Bremsstrahlung X-rays and spectral artifacts, and then the characteristic x-rays are compared with data measured from standard reference materials. 
X-ray intensity
In order to generate characteristic x-rays the electrons in the primary beam must have enough energy to overcome the ionization energy, also called the critical ionization energy, of the inner-shell electrons in the atoms of the sample.