Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) is a scanning electron microscope (SEM) based technique, which enables Sample Microstructure to be analysed, visualised and quantified.
What is Sample Microstructure and why is it important?
Microstructure is the internal structure of a material investigated on the microscopic scale. It is of interest because a materials internal features (or structure) will influence its properties and behaviour. The term ‘Microstructure’ includes the identification and characterisation of grain populations, investigating the different phases or compounds in the material, often secondary phases, coupled with the spatial distribution of elements and analysing the interfaces between grains or within grains.
Characterising microstructure is fundamental in understanding a material and its performance. Material processing will govern the creation of the microstructure, which in turn influences the properties of the material. Therefore microstructure is increasingly important in a large range of industries and research areas, for example: metals research and processing, including speciality metals and engineered materials, renewable energy and solar cell development, developments in microelectronics and geological research.
EBSD is a well established accessory for the SEM, which is used for characterising microstructure. As a result, EBSD is being applied in numerous different application areas to assist in materials understanding, shown in the table below.
The data collected with EBSD is spatially distributed and is visualised in maps and images, and is powerful for looking at localised features or non homogeneous samples. It can be used to study specific grains, local texture changes and low volume phases. EBSD can provide good phase discrimination, and when used in conjunction with EDS (i.e. when the chemistry is also available) offers excellent phase identification. There are a number of benefits to using EBSD for microstructural characterisation, including:
- Spatial information, which can be visualised in maps and images, with spatial resolution of 10’s of nm
- Visualisation of microstructure for grain size and grain / subgrain and phase distribution
- Visualisation of local texture and local crystal misorientations from mm to 20nm
- Global crystallographic texture determination
- Local strain determinations
- Accurate identification of minor phases
|Industries||Materials||Typical EBSD Measurements|
|Metals research and processing||Metals, Alloys||Grain size|
|Aerospace||Intermetallics||Grain boundary characterisation|
|Automotive||Inclusions / precipitates / 2nd phases||Global texture|
|Microelectronics||Thin Films||CSL boundary characterisation|
|Earth Science||Solar Cells||Recrystallised / deformed fractions|
|Superconductors||Phase fractions / distributions|
|Metal / ceramic composites||Fracture analysis|
|Bone, teeth||Orientation & misorientation relationships between grains / phases|
Table 1. A summary of the different application areas and the typical types of measurement made using EBSD.
EBSD, how does it work?
Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) is a scanning electron microscope (SEM) based technique that gives crystallographic information about the microstructure of a sample. In EBSD, a stationary electron beam interacts with a tilted crystalline sample and the diffracted electrons form a pattern that can be detected with a fluorescent screen. The diffraction pattern is characteristic of the crystal structure and orientation in the sample region where it was generated. Hence the diffraction pattern can be used to determine the crystal orientation, discriminate between crystallographically different phases, characterise grain boundaries, and provide information about the local crystalline perfection.
When the electron beam is scanned in a grid across a polycrystalline sample and the crystal orientation is measured at each point, the resulting map reveals the grain morphology, orientations and boundaries. This data can also be used to show the preferred crystal orientation (i.e. texture) within the sample. Thus a complete and quantitative representation of the microstructure can be established with EBSD.
This website describes how an EBSD system works, and gives examples of the type of results EBSD can generate.
Popular Application Examples
Here are some popular application notes demonstrating EBSD in AZtec. To access more application notes, please visit EBSD Applications.
- Phase identification in a high temperature Steel
- Grain Size Characterisation of a Steel Sample using EBSD
- Strain Analysis with the AZtec EBSD System
- Low kv EBSD using AZtecHKL and NordlysNano - Characterisation of a mollusc shell
- EBSD analysis of large sample areas
- TruPhase, solving phases with similar crystal structures but different chemistry
- EBSD - Discriminating compounds with similar crystal structures
- Determining the optimum thickness for TKD using AZtec
- Improving the spatial resolution of EBSD using transmission Kikuchi diffraction in the SEM
- EBSD in Microelectronics Characterisation of a Through Silicon Vias
- EBSD In-situ Heating of Aluminium Alloy
- EBSD Analysis of Industrial Materials
- EBSD Analysis of a Crept Nickel Alloy
EBSD Electron Backscatter Diffraction Analysis
EBSD, Electron Backscatter Diffraction Analysis, is used to perform quantitative microstructural analysis in the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), on a millimetre to a nanometre scale.
This website provides knowledge and guidance for anyone interested in EBSD - from students and newcomers to the application, through lab managers who need a quick overview, to experts striving to better understand and use the technology.
We'll cover the underlying physics and the various applications, then show you how to prepare samples and go through a typical EBSD session. Information is given in a step-by-step approach and you can even tailor your own manual after bookmarking pages of interest. We have interactive simulations, show animations and video demonstrations, and present further reading lists.
The site is non-commercial in nature. We encourage your feedback and contribution with our in-house experts.
Oxford Instruments provides microanalysis solutions on electron microscopes for Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS), Wavelength Dispersive Spectroscopy (WDS) as well as Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD). Videos and datasets were generated using the Oxford Instruments AZtecHKL EBSD system.