Zeiss touts particle analysis add-on for SEMs

August 17, 2009: Carl Zeiss has introduced a software package that consolidates automatic particle detection, investigation, and characterization capabilities for its scanning electron microscopes (SEM) into one application.

The Smart Particle Investigator (SmartPI) integrates SEM control, image processing, and energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis for particle detection and characterization. A “border particle stitching” algorithm determines the full characteristics and measurements of an individual particle which crosses multiple fields. Images of stitched particles can easily be saved and reviewed. Automation for repetitive sample analysis provides non-subjective results with minimal user involvement; automated calibration and diagnostic procedures ensure results accuracy and system stability. Advanced stop-criteria allows early termination of the analysis if a predefined threshold is reached, reducing analysis time.

Target markets for SmartPI include manufacturing (e.g. cleanliness, quality control), wear analysis and failure prediction (e.g., oil analysis of jet engines), geological survey/mining, forensics, and environmental monitoring.


X-ray analysis and chemical classification of filtered particles from manufacturing cleanliness monitoring in the automotive industry. The major features of the X-ray spectrum indicate that the source of this contamination is derived from a bearing steel. (Source: Carl Zeiss)

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