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Glossary terms about Ionization energy

Ionization energy
The energy required to remove an electron from a stable shell or subshell.

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Characteristic X-rays
The K shell has the highest ionization energy or critical ionization energy in the atom. 
Quantitative EDS X-ray microanalysis using SEM
This means that if the energy of the Characteristic X-ray is equal to the ionization energy of an electron shell of an atom in the sample, there is a strong probability that the X-ray photon will be absorbed and a photo-electron will be generated (see  
X-ray intensity
In order to generate Characteristic X-rays the electrons in the primary beam must have enough energy to overcome the ionization energy, also called the critical ionization energy, of the inner-shell electrons in the atoms of the sample.