This document provides guidelines for performing routine diagnostics and quality assurance procedures on electron probe microanalysers (EPMA). It is intended to be used periodically by an instrument's operator to confirm that the instrument is performing optimally, and to aid in troubleshooting if it is not. It covers the properties of reference materials required and the analysis procedures necessary to independently test and fully evaluate the functionality of the main components of an EPMA system.
The analytical procedure described herein is distinct from single-element diagnostic procedures, which can be performed more rapidly. Such procedures are valid for the diffractor position and conditions under which the test is performed, whereas the procedure described herein is intended to qualify an instrument's capabilities for exploratory analysis of unknowns, trace analysis and non-routine work (such as peak interferences).
This document is applicable to EPMA and other wavelength dispersive spectrometer (WDS) systems in which elemental identification and quantification are performed by analysis of the energy and intensity of the characteristic X-ray lines observed in wavelength-dispersed X-ray spectra. It is not directly applicable to elemental analysis using energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS).