EDX stands for energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. This is sometimes known as EDXA or EDXMA, with the A and MA standing for analysis or ‘micro-analysis’.
These techniques are used to determine the chemical characteristics of various samples such as coal ash analysis. They rely on exciting the sample with x-rays, and the capabilities of the system are due in part to the physics principle which describes how each element has its own unique structure which will manifest itself as a set of distinct peaks on the x-ray emission spectrum.
In order to stimulate the emission of x-rays from an elemental specimen, the specimen is bombarded with a high-energy beam of protons, x-rays or electrons. When the atoms are at rest, they will contain some un-excited electrons, which have a given energy level. when the atoms are being bombarded with energy, this will change.
Excitation in this way is used in a lot of high tech microscopes, as well as spectrometers. The system relies on a detector which can convert x-ray energy into signals which are then sent to a pulse processor, which analyses them and displays them in a human readable form.
There are a few other ways of analyzing elements that are quite similar to EDX analysis. X-Ray photo-electron spectroscopy is a similar system which uses ejected electrons for analysis. The quantity of kinetic energy that is brought out of the ejected electrons is used to help determine the binding energy of those electrons. EDS is sometimes used in contrast with WDS, because the two systems use different resolutions, and together can offer a more accurate and detailed analysis – WDS can analyze only one element at a time, but at a very fine resolution, while EDS offers a much broader view, but with more risk of noise and false peaks in the readings.
To find out more information about EDS and EDX analysis you can visit: http://microvisionlabs.com/direct-services-list/soot-analysis/