Electron Backscatter Diffraction in Materials Science

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Present State of Electron Backscatter Diffraction and Prospective Developments

  • Robert A. SchwarzerAffiliated withInstitute of Physics, Clausthal University of Technology Email author 
  • , David P. FieldAffiliated withSchool of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Washington State University
  • , Brent L. AdamsAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, Brigham Young University
  • , Mukul KumarAffiliated withLawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • , Adam J. SchwartzAffiliated withLawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), when employed as an additional characterization technique to a scanning electron microscope (SEM), enables individual grain orientations, local texture, point-to-point orientation correlations, and phase identification and distributions to be determined routinely on the surfaces of bulk polycrystals. The application has experienced rapid acceptance in metallurgical, materials, and geophysical laboratories within the past decade (Schwartz et al. 2000) due to the wide availability of SEMs, the ease of sample preparation from the bulk, the high speed of data acquisition, and the access to complementary information about the microstructure on a submicron scale. From the same specimen area, surface structure and morphology of the microstructure are characterized in great detail by the relief and orientation contrast in secondary and backscatter electron images, element distributions are accessed by energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), wavelength dispersive spectroscopy (WDS), or cathodoluminescence analysis, and the orientations of single grains and phases can now be determined, as a complement, by EBSD.