Materials manufacturing and processing is focused on producing materials with very specific properties. Typically these materials are stronger, lighter and more efficient to manufacture. To facilitate these requirements detailed analysis of the material is required, and this can be either as part of a materials development or as part of a quality control. This analysis includes understanding the chemical and phase composition, grain structure and strain within the material.
Oxford Instruments provides tools which are designed to deliver the required results in these challenging markets. For example, there is often a requirement to investigate large sample areas to deliver adequate sampling statistics, on samples being produced in bulk. This is made possible through the AZtec large area mapping solution, where many hundreds of fields are analysed automatically through unattended data collection and then montaged together to provide a real overview of the sample.
Similarly, automated analysis and classification of inclusions or secondary phases has now become routine, for example the analysis of steel inclusions to recognised standards.
Similarly, as materials are processed, characterisation on the nano scale is needed as grain and particle sizes are decreasing in engineered materials. This is aided by detector technology developments: