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Symmetry® S3

The Symmetry S3 is the only genuine all-in-one EBSD detector on the market, and is based on the revolutionary Symmetry detector, the world’s first EBSD detector to utilise advanced CMOS technology. Exceptional performance for all EBSD applications is combined with ease of use and a range of innovative design features. Highlights include:

  • Guaranteed indexing speeds in excess of 5700 pps at 156 x 128 pixel EBSD pattern resolution

  • 1244 x 1024 pixel resolution – ideal for high angular resolution (HR) EBSD

  • Unique fibre-optic coupling with sub-pixel distortion

  • Extreme sensitivity, benefiting all types of analysis

  • Software controlled detector tilting

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Symmetry S3

Symmetry S3 uses a customised CMOS sensor and fibre optics to unlock a unique and powerful combination of speed, sensitivity, and diffraction pattern detail. The S3, in combination with the AZtec software, delivers exceptional performance on all materials and for all measurements. The highest analysis speed of the Symmetry S3, in excess of 5700 pps, enables texture and grain size characterisation in a matter of seconds, yet this is achieved without requiring high beam currents or sacrificing pattern resolution. This means that these high speeds can be achieved even on challenging, real-world samples such as multiphase light metal alloys or deformed steels.

In addition, the Symmetry S3 can collect distortion-free, megapixel resolution EBSPs for detailed strain and phase analyses. This is a detector to suit all applications, enhanced by innovative features such as software controlled tilting (with dynamic calibration) and a unique proximity sensor.

When an EBSD detector has no compromise, no application is beyond your reach.

The Symmetry S3 detector has an outstanding performance coupled with ease of use, making it the ideal detector for all EBSD applications:

  • Guaranteed indexing speeds > 5700 patterns per second (pps)
  • Fibre-optic lens delivering unrivalled sensitivity
  • Highest sensitivity > 1000 pps / nA
  • 156 x 128 pixel resolution at maximum speed
  • Full megapixel resolution (1244 x 1024) patterns – ideal for high angular resolution (HR)-EBSD strain analyses
  • Sub-pixel distortion, ensuring an angular precision below 0.05°
  • Software controlled tilting interface coupled with autocalibration – perfect positioning and indexing for all sample sizes and geometries
  • Unique proximity sensor – detects potential collisions before they happen and automatically moves the detector to a safe position
  • Five integrated forescatter detectors (optional), providing full colour complementary channelling contrast and atomic number contrast images.
  • Bellows SEM interface, maintaining the microscope’s vacuum integrity
  • Simple and intuitive detector settings, ensuring optimum results every time

The performance of the Symmetry S3 detector is enabled by the powerful AZtecHKL acquisition platform, backed up by the fastest and most modern EBSD data processing software, AZtecCrystal. The comparison table below will help you to choose the best software package to deliver the flexibility and functionality that you require.

Feature Description AZtecHKL AZtecHKL AZtecHKL
Standard Advanced Expert
AZtec EBSD Mapping  Point Analyses,LineScans and Maps
ReAnalysis Reprocess datasets with stored patterns
AZtec Synergy  Fully integrates Oxford Instruments EDS & EBSD systems with simultaneous EDS and EBSD maps /linescans
AZtec PhaseID  Combines EDS & EBSD data to identify unknown phases
AZtec Image Registration Register and use an image for specimen navigation
TKD Navigator Dedicated workflow for transmission Kikuchi diffraction (TKD)
AZtec Data Analysis Data Clean, Grain Detection & Size Analysis, Map Editor
AZtecCrystalStandard Modern, standalone EBSD data processing software incl. maps, pole/inverse pole figures, ODFs and grain analysis
AZtec TruPhase  Real time differentiation of similar crystal structures using EDS O
AZtec Autolock  Predictive and reactive specimen drift correction O
Colour FSD  Colour visualisation of orientation images using forescatter detectors O
PseudoSymmetry Solves orientation measurements in materials where different orientations deliver similar EBSPs O
AZtecHKL Steel  Reclassify phase tool for phase separation and dedicated steel phase database O
AZtecCrystal Advanced Comprehensive standalone data processing package, incl. materials properties, parent grain reconstruction and advanced dislocation analysis O
AZtecCrystal MapSweeper Dataset enhancement tools based on pattern simulation and pattern matching routines O O
AZtec Large Area Mapping  Acquire and stitch multiple fields to characterise large sample areas O O
AZtec MapQueue  Schedule acquisition of multiple experiments O O
CIF Import Import Crystal Information Files for phase definition O O
Magnetic Field Correction  Correct EBSD pattern distortion from immersion lens fields O O O
AZtec 3D Automated acquisition of 3D datasets on compatible FIB-SEMs O O

O: Available as Option

Symmetry S3 Flyer
Blog: EBSD: Taking the First Look at Your Sample
Blog: EBSD – Experienced changes
Blog: Characterisation of nano precipitates by STEM-EDS and Transmission Kikuchi Diffraction (TKD) Fibre Optics and Sensitivity Direct v Indirect Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) Detectors

Application Notes using Symmetry 

Microstructure characterisation in metal powders by EBSD

We demonstrate how gas atomised copper powders can be effectively characterised using EBSD data collected with the latest high-speed Symmetry EBSD detector.

NCM cathode material characterised using EBSD

Discover how EBSD can be used to obtain grain size and texture information from NCM (nickel, cobalt, manganese) cathode material. By characterising and comparing samples of different cathode materials at different stages of the battery’s lifetime, it's possible to link the performance with the microstructure and improve understanding of how the materials can be optimised.

Determining the metamorphic history of rocks using combined EBSD and EDS

Reconstructing the metamorphic evolution of rocks often depends on the identification of key minerals that are only stable at specific temperatures and pressures. Combined EBSD and EDS analyses enable more rigorous phase identification than conventional techniques, with the added benefit of providing insights into a rock’s deformation and chemical history.

Direct Observations of Phase Transformations using High Temperature EBSD

Learn about a new phosphor screen for the Oxford Instruments CMOS EBSD detector range that uses an optical interference filter to block out the infrared signal during high temperature EBSD experiments. This new technology enables faster and more sensitive analyses of microstructural changes measured in-situ at high temperatures.


Symmetry S3 Demonstration  

Watch a demonstration of the previous generation, all-in-one EBSD detector Symmetry S3. 


EBSD without limits...

Recorded live from our Spotlight session, at the virtual meeting M&M 2020. In this session, expert Dr. Pat Trimby introduces the previous generation Symmetry S2 fibre-optically coupled EBSD detector.  

Viewing time: 30 minutes


The Symmetry S3’s combination of extreme speed, sensitivity and versatility makes it the only EBSD detector that can cover all application areas. This includes:

Rapid quality control of materials properties

  • Symmetry S3’s maximum analysis speed of >5700 pps enables the measurement of key sample properties in just seconds
  • Here the grain size of a duplex stainless steel has been analysed to ASTM E2627 standard in less than 40 s, measuring > 2000 grains.
  • Similarly rapid characterisation of texture and phase fraction makes the Symmetry S3 ideal for quality control and high sample throughput applications
  • High speed analyses can be completed on a wide range of materials, using only moderate beam currents (e.g. ~20 nA)

High speed analysis of beam-sensitive samples

  • The unique fibre-optic lens within the Symmetry S3 detector delivers unparalleled sensitivity, ensuring not only excellent data from beam-sensitive materials but performance benefits on all sample types
  • Here a quartz (SiO2) rock sample has been effectively analysed in under 12 minutes at 1900 pps, using only a moderate beam current
  • Symmetry S3’s sensitivity ensures you to utilise the detectors exceptional speeds in all applications, delivering significant throughput advantages

Detailed analysis of strained samples

  • In order to characterise strain effectively, a detector with megapixel resolution and minimal distortion is essential
  • Symmetry S3 is the only detector that can satisfy these criteria – full 1244 x 1024 pixel diffraction patterns are ideal for high angular resolution (HR) EBSD, with every detector guaranteeing sub-pixel distortion
  • This example shows how high quality EBSPs coupled with AZtec’s Refined Accuracy indexing mode can characterise dislocation cells within a strained Ni sample

Analysis of any sample size

  • Large samples are difficult to analyse using conventional EBSD detectors, since they need to be analysed at long working distances (WD) in the SEM, this compromising the standard EBSD geometry
  • Symmetry S3, with its software-controlled tilting, can be positioned at the ideal geometry for every sample type, from TEM foils to cm-scale samples (such as in-situ testing samples or geological thin sections)
  • The map shows EBSD data from a large mechanical test Ti64 alloy sample, with the grain orientation data used to calculate the Young’s Modulus in the loading direction

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