ZEISS SmartPI – Your Automated SEM Particle Analysis and Classification Solution

ZEISS SmartPI – Smart Particle Investigator

Your Automated SEM Particle Analysis and Classification Solution

Energy dispersive X-ray (EDS) classification of particles

Energy dispersive X-ray (EDS) classification of particles

Energy dispersive X-ray (EDS) classification of particles
Energy dispersive X-ray (EDS) classification of particles

Detect, Analyze and Classify Particles

Smart Particle Investigator (SmartPI), your advanced particle analysis and classification solution, turns scanning electron microscopes into turnkey solutions for industrial cleanliness or metal and steel applications. SmartPI incorporates all aspects of SEM control, image processing and elemental analysis (EDS) within a single application.

  • Control both SEM imaging and EDS analysis with one software program.
  • Run automated, unattended particle analyses.
  • Generate repeatable data and industry-standard compliant reports.
  • Combine SmartPI with ZEISS light microscope particle analysis solutions to configure a correlative workflow.
  • Benefit from the global ZEISS service and support for the entire system.
  • SmartPI is compliant with ISO 16232 and VDA 19 cleanliness standards.

Tailored Precisely to the Needs of Industry

SmartPI was developed in close collaboration with a global supplier of automotive components, who had a specific need for a powerful yet easy to use particle identification and classification system. This means that not only have current industrial cleanliness analysis requirements been taken into account, but also usability concerns are addressed for the typical industrial environment, where not every operator is a microscopy expert, and when solutions are deployed at multiple sites around the globe.

The Power of Simplicity

SmartPI automation dramatically simplifies operation so you don’t have to be a microscopy expert to get great data. At the same time, more experienced operators have the power to easily create or modify recipes and tailor the analysis routines to specific requirements. All recipes, system configurations and particle data are stored in an auditable database for easy data review and export.

Intelligent Particle Detection

Using a sophisticated border particle stitching algorithm, SmartPI also detects, characterizes and classifies particles that are aligned across multiple fields of view, including truncated particles within the particle dataset. This is particularly important to ensure that larger particles are not dismissed from the statistics, an action that can be detrimental to cleanliness or steel quality analysis.

A Fully Integrated Solution

Control both SEM imaging and EDS analysis with one software program on a single PC. ZEISS SmartPI keeps all data together, assuring both SEM and EDS data integrity and efficient data recall. Even when the EDS system is sourced from an EDS supplier, the entire SmartPI system is supported by the global ZEISS service and applications team – keeping all customer care under one roof.

SmartPI at Work

Typical SmartPI workflow

Typical SmartPI workflow

Energy calibration of EDS detector

Energy calibration of EDS detector

Energy calibration of EDS detector
Energy calibration of EDS detector

Auto-calibration Procedures

SmartPI performs self-diagnostic and auto-calibration routines before each auto-run and periodically during the run. This ensures system stability, and accurate, repeatable results. Should an interruption occur during the auto-run, for example when a filament replacement is required, an auto-recovery process is initiated.

Morphological and Chemical Classification

Morphological particle segmentation (left) and chemical classification (right)

Morphological and Chemical Classification
Morphological particle segmentation (left) and chemical classification (right)

Morphological and Chemical Classification

SmartPI employs advanced image processing and analysis techniques to measure a variety of morphological characteristics for each particle detected. Subsequently, EDS analysis is used to determine the chemical composition of each particle. Analyze particles rapidly with either Spot Mode or in more detail using the advanced ZEISS Feature Scan Mode. This scans the complete particle shape to provide a more accurate classification.

Measurement Exclusions

Exclusion of fibers, for example, via limitation of the parameter elongation

Measurement Exclusions
Exclusion of fibers, for example, via limitation of the parameter elongation

Measurement Exclusions

In order to keep your particle dataset coherent and minimize runtime, SmartPI enables you to exclude particles that are not deemed of interest, from subsequent image and elemental analysis. This could, for instance, be the case for elongated fibers on the filter that may originate from dust in the environment, and hence are unrelated to particles originating from the manufacturing process.

Advanced Stop Criteria

Stop criteria setup page

Advanced Stop Criteria
Stop criteria setup page

Advanced Stop Criteria

A range of advanced stop criteria allow the auto-run to end the analysis when it reaches a predefined threshold. Stop criteria can include analysis time, number of particles or fields counted, particle size, a specific classification, or other criteria that you can specify. This feature can be applied to single or multiple samples, thereby significantly reducing the overall run-time. A live results window also allows the operator to monitor the progress and decide whether any intervention is required.

Interactive and Retrospective Particle Classification

Use the review mode to re-examine single particles and see all of their properties including EDS composition and material classification.

Interactive and Retrospective Particle Classification
Use the review mode to re-examine single particles and see all of their properties including EDS composition and material classification.

Use the review mode to re-examine single particles and see all of their properties including EDS composition and material classification.

Interactive and Retrospective Particle Classification

Use the Review Output mode to refine and improve the classification recipes by making a detailed examination of the results. You can also re-examine any particle by returning the stage to the appropriate particle coordinates.
The Retrospective Analysis mode lets you re-evaluate existing results by using new classification criteria – without the need to re-analyze the sample.

SmartPI Explorer

SmartPI Explorer navigation window with multi-particle view

SmartPI Explorer
SmartPI Explorer navigation window with multi-particle view

SmartPI Explorer navigation window with multi-particle view

SmartPI Explorer

This standalone application lets you browse or search the results for individual spectra, particle images, field images, border particles, or other filters you select. In addition, SmartPI Explorer includes options for archiving, as well as an image montage feature for creating a stitched image from the fields analyzed. Explorer also may be used offline to free up system time for analysis.

SmartPI Reporter

VDA 19 cleanliness report generated in SmartPI Reporter

SmartPI Reporter
VDA 19 cleanliness report generated in SmartPI Reporter

VDA 19 cleanliness report generated in SmartPI Reporter

SmartPI Reporter

This standalone application has a number of built-in tools which allow you to construct dedicated reports. You can use drag-and-drop controls, modify an existing report template, or select an ISO or VDA standard report. Once you've defined your report, you can save it as a template for future reports. Use SmartPI Reporter online for immediate report generation or offline when you will be analyzing results at a later time.

Recommended SEM Platforms

EVO

EVO

Scanning Electron Microscope

EVO is the conventional SEM of choice for use in routine materials analysis or industrial quality assurance and failure analysis. With a large motorized 5 axis stage, and easy-to-use SmartSEM software, EVO offers a highly configurable imaging platform for particle analysis applications. EVO is available with variable pressure (VP), enabling the imaging and analysis of non-conductive samples, such as filters, without the necessity to apply a conductive coating, and thus leaving the filter intact for subsequent analysis using e.g. Raman or FTIR.

Sigma

Sigma 300

Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope

Sigma 300 is the SEM of choice for users which require enhanced resolution for particle analysis in the nanometer scale range. Sigma featuring Gemini column technology, provides outstanding imaging and analytical results from a field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM). The Gemini optics provides the highest resolution imaging on a platform very well suited for elemental analysis, particularly on magnetic samples.

Downloads

ZEISS SmartPI

Your Automated SEM Particle Analysis and Classification Solution

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