The most important overall factor in Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy is the energy resolution achieved by the spectrometer. NION Company (Kirkland, WA, U.S.A.) is leading the way, as the NION IRIS EEL Spectrometer achieved 4meV energy resolution, an unprecedented lower limit never matched by any other manufacturer. To push EELS performance even further, it is best to combine the EEL spectrometer with a direct electron detector optimized for sensitivity, speed, and a high dynamic range.

In collaboration with NION we developed ELA, a new DECTRIS direct electron detector based on our EIGER2 fastest technology and sensor format adapted to NION’s EELS requirement. Our hybrid pixel detectors are counting electrons very efficiently, and can handle probe currents well over 100 pA, as often needed in STEM-EELS experiments.

The DECTRIS ELA detector is equipped with a Si sensor and can be operated at 9000 spectra/sec in continuous readout mode between 30 and 200 keV. Its optimized parameters allow elemental mapping in nearly real time, and recording momentum-resolved EEL spectra within minutes.


EELS of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), E0=100keV,
beam current = 170 pA, 10s exposure, 0.28 eV/ch.
Raw data (no dark subtraction or gain normalization).

N. Dellby. T.C. Lovejoy et al., unpublished (2019)

Specifications ELA

Pixel size [µm2]
75 x 75
Number of pixels
1028 x 514
Active area, width x height [mm2]
76.4 x 38.6
Energy range [keV]
30 - 200
Threshold range [keV]
5 - 80
Maximum frame rate, ROI [Hz]
9'000 (16-bit)
Maximum frame rate, full frame [Hz]
2'250 (16-bit), 4'500 (8-bit)
Data format
Water, 20°C
Dimensions (WHD) [mm3]
110 x 80 x 260
Detective Quantum Efficiency, DQE(0)
0.9 @ 100 kV; 0.8 @ 200kV
Detector mounting
Horizontal, on-axis
Radiation hardness [el./mm2]
>5 x 1018

All specifications are subject to change without notice.

  • 2,250 full frames/s and faster for sub-areas
  • PSF @ 100 keV ~ 1.3 pixels, better at lower keV
  • DQE ~ 0.8 (without super-resolution)
  • Dynamic range > 106:1
  • Can use >100 pA while counting single electrons
  • Optimized for 30-200 keV operation
  • Elemental mapping


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