The automated acquisition and classification of linked morphology and chemistry data from particles, grains, inclusions or other features is vital in many fields. In addition, it is often necessary to classify and report results to internal and international standards.In this webinar we will discuss how the new functionality in AZtecFeature addresses these requirements.

AZtecFeature is the fastest and most accurate feature analysis tool available; it can be applied to a wide range of applications in SEM and TEM. It now includes new functionality to improve throughput, ease of use, data quality and interpretation.

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Questions & Answers

What is the advantage to using AZtec Feature, will it work for most applications listed in your presentation?

There are a number of significant advantages to using AZtecFeature over INCAFeature. The first is the quality of the quantification. AZtec was written for the current generation of silicon drift detectors and has improved quantification and correction algorithms which are tailored to the data they provide. As such, auto ID works even more effectively, background, peak overlap and pulse pile up corrections are carried out better and more quickly and you can have an even higher degree of confidence in the quantifications you perform. This is applicable to any spectrum or map you acquire in AZtec. We also support the use of multiple detectors in AZtec which we did not in INCA. In terms of Feature, in AZtec you can use the data that you have acquired in Feature in the other navigators - e.g. you could review an automatically acquired spectrum in Point and ID - fundamentally the integration of Feature with the rest of the product is far greater. In terms of using Feature, AZtec is far easier. Where there were 18 buttons to work your way through in INCA, there is a short workflow of 6 steps to work through in AZtec. AZtec also allows a far higher degree of multi-tasking - you can be working on a previously acquired project whilst another is acquiring. AZtecFeature includes dedicated instructions on each step of the interface - these can be customised to your specific requirements to guide and instruct new users on how to use the software.

Is there a limit to the number of elements that can be used in an EDS filter?

There is no limit to the number of elements which can be used in an EDS filter. Much like classifications - which are very similar to EDS filters to the extent that each can be used to create the other - there is no limit to the number of criteria which can be entered.

During an automated run, if you want to include the particles at the border of a frame, how do you make sure that they are defined correctly (morphology / just counting it as one particle etc)?

In the case where particles are overlapping field boundaries and are broken in two (or more) they can be reconstructed by AZtecFeature back to their original shape. The quantifications are recalculated and morphology combined so that the true composition and extent of the feature are known. We can also choose to reject any features which tough the edge of an area when performing this post-processing - this ensures that no data which remains in the dataset is for features without accurate morphology data.

Can particles within particles be recognized and defined as 'sub particles'?

If a feature can be recognised from its appearance in a backscattered electron (BSE) image then it can be identified as a separate feature - even if it sits within a particle with another feature. An example of this might be a geological material which contains many particles, each of which can contain many grains. Each of the grains within the particle can be identified as a separate feature and measured individually accordingly.

What is the range of EDS acquisition time available for fast runs and detailed runs?

EDS acquisition times can be set as short as 0.01s per feature up to as long as 1 week. The fastest acquisition times mean overall acquisition rates in excess of 30,000 features per hour are achievable.

Is Feature Analysis a standard feature in Aztec or an add on module?

AztecFeature is an option for AZtec which can be added at any time by means of a simple license upgrade.

How many EDS detectors do you ideally need?

AZtecFeature works very well with a single EDS detector from our X-Max range. Increasing the size of your detector and the number of detectors you have will increase your count rate and therefore allow you to reduce live time per feature therefore reducing the overall run time. There is no trade off in terms of the spectral performance of the detector or the quality of the quant.

Are actual BSE images saved for the run?

Yes, BSE images are saved for each individual field which is visited during a run. Furthermore, a montaged image for the entire run is also available to view.

In case I have close to no Z-Difference in the BSE contrast, how can I optimise my particle detection based on the EDS results for a certain element?

You can set EDS filters to acquire more data from a feature if a certain element or group of elements is found within it. As such you can focus your available analytical times on features depending on the content of a given element or selection of elements. There is no limit to the number of elements that can be specified or the number of rules that can be specified so the way that you can build and use your filters can be very precise.

Could you estimate data size(project file size) for 1 GSR sample?

As a guide, a project for a single GSR sample might be 1gb in size. AZtec automatically utilises file compression for all feature projects to manage file sizes.

What happen if the tungsten filament breaks during analysis?

Validation routines such as in run threshold adjustment can compensate for and report on any changes to microscope parameters during the run. If a filament were to break during analysis it would cause the run to stop immediately as an accelerating voltage of 0kV would be reported.

Can you choose the colour for each classification? If so, how many choices of colour are there?

You can indeed set the colours for each different classification in AZtecFeature3.3. There is a choice of 16 preset colours to choose from and an additional 360 shades can be also be accessed.

What is the output format for the results? Histogram and triangular diagrams were shown, do they transfer to word or excel?

There are a large number of report templates built into AZtecFeature 3.3 which are in both Microsoft Word and Excel formats. These can automatically take the plots you mention into either program. You can also right click on and copy any analysis object or plot for pasting into any program you wish. The data table can also be directly copied for a right click and dropped straight into excel for further processing.

What is the area the EDS is taken from? The full particle or a central spot in the feature?

EDS can be recorded from either the centre of the particles or from each pixel that makes up the particle. Taking the measurement from the centre is generally preferable for smaller, typically spherical features such as those found on air filters, whereas the full feature acquisition is better for larger and irregularly shaped features.

Which standard do you prefer for GSR BSE grey level calibration?

We ship a Au/Rh/Co standard with our GSR systems and the instructions supplied with the system refer to this standard. However, you may wish to develop your own operating procedure using your own standard and we are perfectly happy for you to do this.

If you're reviewing previously acquired data, how much does that slow down on-going data collection?

AZtecFeature 3.3 makes use of the latest generation of multi-core, 64bit PCs. As such, certain cores can be processing the acquisition whilst others are available for processing. The result of this is that there is no discernible drop off in performance when post-processing is conducted during analysis.

Is it possible to have a Feature run do random fields instead of a sequentially acquired montaged image?

Yes, you can choose to analyse fields in a random order. You can also utilise termination criteria with such analyses to define (for example) that the acquisition should be terminated after a certain proportion of the defined area has been analysed or once a specified number of features have been classified as being of a certain type. Fields acquired in a random order are still presented with their correct spatial relationship to one another so that a montage builds up.


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