New Microscope Combined Imaging Technology with High Speed Analysis

March 1, 2019
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors
Pharmaceutical Technology's In the Lab eNewsletter

Volume 14, Issue 3

HORIBA’s new analytical microscope simultaneously performs elemental analysis and optical observation without destroying samples.

HORIBA Scientific’s new XGT-9000 X-ray analytical microscope (μXRF) combines new imaging technology with high sensitivity in one instrument, allowing for high speed analysis of foreign materials. The company, a provider of spectroscopy instrumentation and solutions, announced the release of μXRF in late January 2019.

The new microscope can simultaneously perform elemental analysis and optical observation of samples without destroying or contacting them. The instrument incorporates HORIBA’s proprietary high-resolution X-ray technology and screens foreign objects that often cause problems in the production process of lithium-ion batteries, food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. It also analyzes elements in semiconductor integrated circuits and other micro objects. In addition, it measures film thickness and adherence amounts with a high degree of accuracy, the company reports.

By integrating the features of a high-resolution microscope and high-intensity X-ray beams, the XGT-9000 performs non-destructive foreign-object analysis on samples, switching between high-speed analysis mode for rapid screening of foreign objects and detailed analysis mode using the micro beams first incorporated in earlier models.

The instrument is equipped with three types of optical illuminations: bright field coaxial, dark field, and transmission. Combining bright field coaxial and dark field illuminations enables clear observation of the samples with flat or uneven areas, such as semiconductor wafers and films.

The XGT-9000 offers highly accurate and fast foreign-object analysis, enabling it to detect both visible foreign objects and invisible ones down to only several microns (= 1/1000 millimeter) in size. Seeing these single foreign objects with the high-definition optical images can prevent degraded performance, appearance and quality, or serious mechanical failure.

Irradiating X-rays coaxial with optical observation images enables pinpoint analysis with no misalignment. High-definition optical images improve the visibility of foreign objects, which until very recently, have been hard to observe, the company reports.

Other improvements include shortened analysis time, enhanced mapping and image processing, and ease of combination with other analysis equipment. The software package includes quantitative and qualitative chemical analyses, thickness determination, and image analysis features.

“This instrument is ideal for foreign object analysis in foods and pharmaceuticals,” said Dr. Sergey Mamedov, Raman and XRF applications scientist at HORIBA Scientific, in a company press release. “This analyzer is also being used to increase efficiency in R&D and quality control within a broad range of fields, including failure analysis of large printed circuit boards, non-destructive analysis of metal materials, measurement of film thickness, and adherence amounts on increasingly miniaturized semiconductor integrated circuits and connecting electrodes.”

Source: HORIBA Scientific