Energy Specific EBSD Application Notes

Characterisation of Hydrides in a Zirconium Alloy, by EBSD

Zirconium alloys are used in nuclear reactors owing to their low capture cross-section for thermal neutrons and good mechanical and corrosion properties. However, they suffer from delayed hydrogen cracking (DHC) due to formation of hydride particles. This study shows how the electron backscattered technique (EBSD) can be used to characterise hydrides in terms of their orientation relationship with the matrix and internal structure and local misorientation.

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EBSD in Microelectronics Characterisation of a Through Silicon Vias

Electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) is an established technique in micro-structural materials characterisation. It is applied in determining grain size, grain orientation, in characterising grain boundaries and in determining texture. It offers useful insight for many different materials and industries, including microelectronics. This application note describes the use of AZtecHKL with a Nordlys EBSD detector in the characterisation of Through-Silicon Vias, or TSV.

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EBSD Microstructural Characterisation of an Alumina Insulator

The excellent mechanical and electrical properties of engineering ceramics make them popular in a wide variety of applications. In this example the high dielectric strength of alumina promotes its use as an electrical insulator. These dielectric properties are influenced by the porosity of the material, which needs to be kept to a minimum after sintering to ensure optimum performance. The properties are engineered by controlling the grain size of the raw material and by the use of various additives.

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EBSD and EDS in the analysis of thin-film solar cells based on Cu(In,Ga)Se2 absorber layers

An important part of the research and development of thin-film solar cells is the characterisation of microstructural and compositional properties of the functional layers. For this purpose, energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDS) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) represent techniques which exhibit spatial resolutions on the nanometer scale but can be, at the same time, applied on large areas of several square millimeters. The application of EDS and EBSD is demonstrated on this example of thin-film solar cells with Cu(In,Ga)Se2 absorber layers. While EDS provides elemental distributions even in layers with a nominal thickness of 30-50 nm, EBSD gives not only information of average grain sizes, local orientations and grain boundaries. Moreover, strain distributions within individual grains can be calculated by the evaluation of EBSD patterns recorded on individual grains.

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Geology Specific EBSD Application Notes

Large area EBSD mapping of quartz layers sheared around rigid porphyroclasts

Microstructural information in geological samples can be gathered and imaged using an SEM equipped with an EBSD detector and combined with specialist software. EBSD enables the identification of mineral phases based on their particular
crystallographic characteristics and allows the orientation of mineral grains to be determined. Large-area EBSD mapping, with Oxford Instruments’ AZtec software, allows large quantities of information relating to microstructural deformation to be obtained, enabling the history and evolution of a geological sample to be revealed. This study investigates the microstructural response of quartz layers to flow around rigid secondary garnet porphyroclasts during ductile deformation.

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EBSD on the Nacre Structure of a Pearl (Hyriopsis cumingii) with 100 nm Resolution – Busting a Myth

Nacre of pearls and mollusc shells is a hybrid nano composite of aragonite (CaCO3) platelets and biopolymers. The colorful luster of nacre is due to the aragonite platelet thickness which is close to the wavelength of visible light. Further, the hybrid composite nanostructure lends nacre extraordinary mechanical properties. The biopolymer component provides flexibility and tensile strength while, the mineral component is essential for high elastic modulus, compressive and bending strength, as well as hardness and abrasive resistance.

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Metals Specific EBSD Application Notes

Aztec Grain Analysis

The grain size is an important parameter of a material, it will strongly affect mechanical and physical properties. Understanding how grain size is influenced through the processing of materials, can assist in engineering materials with optimised properties.The current development is towards materials with increasing smaller grains, often on the nanoscale. Traditional methods for grain size measurements are not all suited for nanoscale materials, however the combination of SEM combined with EBSD is an ideal solution. This application of EBSD is not new, however as this technique becomes more widespread, the requirement is to develop a robust solution which delivers accurate results every time. Oxford Instruments AZtec EBSD system has a dedicated Grain Analysis mode which is both reliable and flexible for this application.

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AZtec Reclassify Phase: Discriminating phases in steels

Steels are engineered with different microstructures for different applications. Austenite, ferrite, martensite and bainite are common phases in different steel alloys and the relative proportions of these different phases impact how the steel will behave in different regimes. For example, the amount of martensite will influence both strength and toughness. As a result, being able to measure the relative presence of these phases is important.

Electron back-scattering diffraction (EBSD) can readily separate austenite and ferrite due to significant crystallographic difference between these two phases. In contrast, distinguishing martensite, bainite and ferrite is a challange as the crystal structure of these three phases is essentially the same. All three have a body centred cubic (BCC) structure, with martensite and bainite being only slightly distorted from the ferrite BCC structure. This difference in crystal structure has presented challenges to researchers for many years.

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AZtecSynergy – Phase Identification in a High Temperature Steel

Phase discrimination using Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) is a powerful tool for the positive identification of phases that exist in materials at the microscopic level. Accurate phase identification is a basic requirement of an EBSD system. This technical note illustrates the capability of Oxford Instruments’ AZtecSynergy microanalysis system using the Tru-I indexing engine to perform Phase Identification. This is coupled with simultaneous EBSD and X-ray chemical mapping. A high temperature steel containing second phase particles is used as an example material, this sample contains phases which are traditionally very difficult to differentiate using EBSD.

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AZtecSynergy and BLG CrossCourt 3 EBSD Characterisation of a Crept Nickel Alloy

Microanalysis is a powerful tool in understanding potential failure mechanisms and potential life time of many materials. In this example, the microstructure and damage distribution following creep deformation of a nickel superalloy is studied using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) and energy dispersive spectrometry (EDS).

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EBSD and EDS characterization of high entropy alloys

A high entropy alloy, Al8Co17Cr17Cu8Fe17Ni33, has been developed from an equiatomic AlCoCrCuFeNi alloy. Due to its promising properties, such as high corrosion and oxidation resistance and high thermal stability, it is a candidate
for various applications at elevated temperature as, e.g., furnace parts, tools and moulds. The exploration of new metallic systems for high temperature applications is an important challenge in today’s materials science.

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EBSD Study of Recovery and Recrystallisation in a Folded Al Alloy

The NordlysMax2 and AZtec EBSD system observes the changes during in-situ isothermal heating of an experimental Al0.1%Mg alloy. This system is optimised for fast data acquisition at elevated temperatures. The results show similarities to ex-situ isothermal heating experiments on folded Ni sheets, with the generation of fine grains in the compressed and tensile regions and larger grains where the strain is least.

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Grain size characterisation of a steel sample using the AZtecHKL EBSD system

Grain size is an important characteristic used in understanding the development, engineering and potential failure of steels. The mechanical and physical properties of metallic materials are often related to grain size e.g. via the Hall-Petch relationship where strength is inversely dependent on the square root of grain size. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) is an ideal technique for this determining grain size, it offers microstructural characterisation including grain size, grain boundary characterisation and texture quantification.

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