Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS)

When used in combination with Transmission Electron Microscopy, Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) gives elemental composition on nanometer size areas.

How it works – a portion of the the energy of the incident electrons is lost as they pass through the sample.  The amount of energy lost is related to the elemental composition of the sample, allowing the determination of the sample’s elemental composition.  EELS provides improved spatial resolution (1nm), greater signal to noise, better energy resolution (<1 eV for EELS) and higher sensitivity to lower atomic number elements when compared to EDS.  Additionally, it is possible to obtain chemical bonding information in some cases.

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Instrumentation Available

Key Attributes

Elements Detected: B-U
Detection Limit: 0.5% atomic
Imaging Resolution: 1 nm


  • Increased signal vs EDS
  • High spatial resolution
  • Higher energy resolution vs EDS
  • Higher sensitivity to Low Z elements vs EDS
  • Bonding information in select cases


  • Complicated analysis
  • Poorer signal to noise for heavier elements
  • May have multiple inelastic scattering events in thicker samples


  • Elemental composition mapping
  • Electron Band structure measurement
  • Measurement of valance and conduction electron densities

Additional Reading