Specimen preparation for EBSD is critical, because diffracted electrons escape from within only a few tens of nanometres of the specimen surface.
If material near the surface is deformed, contaminated, or oxidized, then EBSD pattern formation may be suppressed.
For many materials, standard preparation methods may be employed successfully with care. As a general rule standard preparation methods can be progressed to the final polishing stage without any deviation from the normal route employed. Thereafter, an additional polishing stage using colloidal silica is all that is required to achieve a finish suitable for EBSD.
However, different materials respond differently to common preparation methods and composite materials are even more challenging. Therefore the material under investigation should be considered on an individual basis and prepared appropriately. The manufacturers of preparation equipment should be consulted for the applicability of a given approach for a given material.
Images courtesy of Struers.