Basic EBSD Application Notes

EBSD Analysis of Large Sample Areas by AZtec

The rapid increase in both EDS and EBSD detector throughput in recent years has been driven by user requirements for improved productivity without compromising the accuracy or quality of results. AZtec Large Area Mapping has the capability to collect data with great detail over large sample areas at the fastest speeds. It is then possible to apply single field analysis tools to the large area data sets. This technical note will demonstrate this.

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EBSD - Extending the Capability of Microanalysis

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled with an Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS) system is a routine analytical technique. EDS enables elemental analysis on the micro- and nano- scale within the chamber of the SEM. It is a powerful and incredibly useful technique. However, when characterising a sample in the SEM it only gives part of the information: knowledge of the material’s microstructure is just as important (phase identification, grain sizes etc) as these is often directly related to a material’s mechanical properties such as corrosion and fatigue resistance.

Analysis at the micro scale is significantly enhanced by the application of EBSD (Electron BackScattered Diffraction). This is a quantitative micro structural characterisation technique, which extends EDS to determine a wide range of material properties.

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Grain characterisation of a steel wire

The mechanical and physical properties of metallic materials are closely related to grain size e.g. through the Hall-Petch relationship, where strength is inversely dependent to the square root of grain size. Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) on a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) is the ideal technique for determining grain size, illustrated here with a galvanized steel wire. This steel is used to manufacture bridge cables, and the importance of grain size and microstructure has been recognised as it influences the critical performance of the final steel cable.

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Transmission Kikuchi Diffraction with AZtec - The Application of EBSD to the Nanoscale

It is becoming increasingly important to be able to characterise materials on the nanoscale and, despite significant technological developments in recent years, the EBSD technique is still limited by the pattern source volume to resolutions in the order of 25-100 nm. This is insufficient to accurately measure truly
nanostructured materials (with mean grain sizes below 100 nm).

A new approach to SEM-based diffraction has received a lot of interest; it applies conventional EBSD hardware to an electron-transparent sample. The technique, referred to as transmission Kikuchi diffraction (TKD: Trimby, 2012) or transmission EBSD (t-EBSD: Keller and Geiss, 2012) has been proven to enable spatial resolutions better than 10 nm. This technique is ideal for routine EBSD characterisation of both nanostructured and highly deformed samples.

This application note describes some of the challenges when using TKD and how application of the AZtec EBSD system overcomes them.

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