Free software for EDS analysis

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Only 8$ for interpretation of your EDS spectrum 
and 10$ per sample for interpreting of your SEM/TEM micrograghs
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DTSA-II is a multi-platform software package for quantitative x-ray microanalysis. DTSA-II was inspired by the popular Desktop Spectrum Analyzer (DTSA) package developed by Chuck Fiori, Carol Swyt-Thomas, and Bob Myklebust at NIST and NIH in the ’80’s and early ’90’s.

DTSA-II has being designed with the goal of making standards-based microanalysis more accessible for the novice microanalyst. We want to encourage standards-based analysis by making it as easy as possible to get reliable results. Many operations which had previously required user intervention under DTSA now are performed entirely by the software. Furthermore, the software attempts to guide the user step-by-step through common processes while performing quality control sanity checks. While this might not provide the flexibility that some sophisticated users may desire, we feel that this philosophy is more consistent with the way laboratories are moving towards technicians responsible for multiple techniques and away from experts in single techiques. We encourage users who desire the additional power and flexibility available in the EPQ library to learn to script using Jython or to create their own alternative user interface. EPQ is much more capable than the fraction exposed via DTSA-II.

DTSA-II is based on an entirely new code base written by Nicholas W. M. Ritchie. The codebase has been carefully divided into a shared algorithm library which forms the basis for a handful of software products and a user interface shell. DTSA-II is the user interface shell and the EPQ library is the algorithm library.

DTSA-II remains under active development. Many features – some fairly basic – remain unimplemented. Other features have not been tested as much as the developer might like. The program made available to the public via this web site represents the current best available version in the judgement of the developer. DTSA-II remains experimental software and no representations are made regarding the suitability of the product for any particular application.

Major features:

  • Basic IO and Display
    • Read energy dispersive x-ray spectra in a variety of different commercial and non-commercial formats including the industry standard EMSA format
    • Display and overlay spectra with various scaling options on linear/log/sqrt axes
    • Copy/save/print the spectrum display as a bitmap/PNG file
    • Output the spectra as a GNUPlot file for publication quality output
    • Overlay labeled x-ray emission lines and x-ray absorption edges
    • Define and integrate regions-of-interest
    • View spectrum contextual information
    • Archive spectra to a searchable database
    • Sub-sampling of spectral data to simulate shorter acquisition times
    • Basic spectrum math functions
    • Background modeling or background stripping
    • Energy axis linearization
    • Spectrum smoothing
    • Peak removal (trimming)
    • Peak search / identification
  • Spectrum Simulation
    • Analytical (φ(ρz)) simulations of energy dispersive x-ray spectra
      • Normal or oblique incidence angle
      • Variable beam energies, beam fluxes, materials
    • Monte carlo simulations of energy dispersive x-ray spectra
      • Spectra from bulk samples
      • Mounted or unmounted thin films
      • Cubical or spherical particles with or without a substrate
    • Simulated spectra may be manipulated as experimental spectra
    • Variety of detector options including Si(Li), SDD and microcalorimeter
  • Standards-based Quantification
    • Standards-based quantification of EDS spectra
    • Filter-fit linear-least squares fitting of reference spectra
    • Quantification based on references or like-standards
    • φ(ρz) correction of the k-ratios
    • ζ-factor correction of thin-film samples
    • Results reported as HTML with estimates of uncertainty
  • Reporting
    • Actions are recorded in a daily HTML activity report
    • Report may be opened in an alternative HTML viewer
  • Platforms and Source Code
    • DTSA-II is based on the EPQ library – a full-featured library of electron probe quantification algorithms
    • DTSA-II only exposes a fraction of the power within the EPQ library. The remainder may be accessed via custom Java applications or via Jython scripting.
    • The EPQ library includes the full NISTMonte for Monte Carlo simulation of electron/x-ray transport
    • DTSA-II / EPQ library are available as source code
    • DTSA-II / EPQ library are written in Java SE 6 compatible source
    • DTSA-II / EPQ library can execute on any platform supporting Java SE 6 or later
    • DTSA-II / EPQ library is regularly tested on Windows XP, Ubuntu Linux & Apple OS X


This software was developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology by employees of the Federal Government in the course of their official duties. Pursuant to title 17 Section 105 of the United States Code this software is not subject to copyright protection and is in the public domain. DTSA and the EPQ library are experimental systems. NIST assumes no responsibility whatsoever for its use by other parties, and makes no guarantees, expressed or implied, about its quality, reliability, or any other characteristic. We would appreciate acknowledgement if the software is used. This software can be redistributed and/or modified freely. The author requests that any derivative works bear some notice that they are derived from it, and any modified versions bear some notice that they have been modified.

Any mention of commercial products is for information only; it does not imply recommendation or endorsement by NIST nor does it imply that the products mentioned are necessarily the best available for the purpose.


2. HyperSpy

HyperSpy is an open source Python library which provides tools to facilitate the interactive data analysis of multi-dimensional datasets that can be described as multi-dimensional arrays of a given signal (e.g. a 2D array of spectra a.k.a spectrum image). HyperSpy aims at making it easy and natural to apply analytical procedures that operate on an individual signal to multi-dimensional arrays, as well as providing easy access to analytical tools that exploit the multi-dimensionality of the dataset. Its modular structure makes it easy to add features to analyze different kinds of signals.


  • Two families of named and scaled axes: signal and navigation.
  • Visualization tools for multi-dimensional spectra and images.
  • Easy access multi-dimensional curve fitting and blind source separation.
  • Built on top of NumPy, SciPy, matplotlib and scikit-learn.
  • Modular design for easy extensibility.

The development has been motivated by the data analysis needs of the electron microscopy community but it is proving useful in many other fields.


3. AZtec

  • AZtecFeature is an innovative particle analysis system specifically optimised for usability and high-speed throughput. It combines the raw speed and sensitivity of the Ultim Max Silicon Drift Detector with the superior analytical performance and ease of use of the AZtec® EDS analysis suite to create the most advanced automated particle analysis platform on the market. Gunshot Residue Analysis in the SEM with AZtecGSR is fast and accurate: it gives reproducible Gunshot Residue Analysis results to ASTM E1588 – 10e1.
  • AZtecGSR combines ease of use through its guided workflow, with the ultimate accuracy using the latest Ultim Max detectors and Tru-Q® algorithms. LayerProbe is an exciting software tool for thin film analysis in the SEM. An option for the AZtec EDS microanalysis system, LayerProbe is faster, more cost-effective and higher resolution than dedicated thin film measurement tools.The most powerful EBSD software available, AZtecHKL combines speed and accuracy of results for routine analysis, with the flexibility and power required for applications that push the frontiers of EBSD.
  • AZtec3D combines simultaneous EDS and EBSD data acquisition & analysis with the automated milling capabilities of a FIB-SEM.AZtecLiveOne software platform is the ideal solution for carrying out a complex task like EDS as quickly and as easily as possible. No need for substantial training or advanced knowledge of the EDS technique. Users can be trained in a matter of minutes and will have complete confidence in their results. AZtecTEM is an innovative EDS software specifically optimised for advanced TEM applications. AZtecSynergy provides a powerful solution for the simultaneous collection of EDS and EBSD data. All of the tools to collect excellent integrated data are included in one place with no complicated switching from one navigator to another.
  • AZtecSteel is an automated steel inclusion analysis package developed specifically for the analysis and classification of steel inclusions using Energy Dispersive X-ray microanalysis (EDS) in a scanning electron microscope (SEM). It detects, measures and analyses the inclusions, processes the resulting data set to published standard methods, and includes functionality to plot complex ternary diagrams. AZtecLive is a revolutionary new approach to EDS analysis that enables a radical change in the way users perform sample investigation in the SEM. It combines a live electron image with live X-ray chemical imaging to give an intuitive new way of interacting with your samples. Collecting good quality data is only the beginning of any complete EBSD analysis. AZtecCrystal provides all the necessary tools to process and interrogate your EBSD data and to solve your materials problems. Seamlessly integrated with AZtecHKL or operated as a standalone program, AZtecCrystal sets the standard in EBSD data processing for experts and novices alike.
  • AZtecAM is a powerful, automated, solution for the analysis of metal powders used in additive manufacturing. Based on AZtecFeature, AZtecAM optimises the particle analysis workflow to enable the rapid and accurate characterisation of metal powders. AZtecMineral is a powerful, automated, Mineral Liberation Analysis solution. It enables ore characterisation, provides vital data on metal recovery and enables process yield characterisation using multipurpose SEMs. It is also a valuable tool for the characterisation of rocks in research environments, enabling the automation of otherwise laborious optical analyses.


4. ESPRIT Family

ESPRIT 2 unites four analytical methods under a single user interface. These include EDS for SEM and (S)TEM, WDS, Micro-XRF for SEM and EBSD. This makes it easy for the user to switch between methods with a single mouse click. Additionally, it facilitates combining different method results from the same sample area and to so gain much more information. To name only the most important, coupling of following methods is supported:

  • EDS and EBSD
  • EDS and WDS
  • EDS and Micro-XRF for SEM

The software is designed to suit the needs of all levels of users – from beginner to expert. Novices will benefit from the assistants that help performing routine tasks without having to learn details of the measurement method. More experienced users will value the option to drill down deeper, when they need it, meaning both detailed setup of measurements as well as in-depth analysis of results and automation of tasks.