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Application Note Library

Welcome to our Application Note Library! We have released numerous app notes covering a wide range of application areas. We'd love to hear from you if there is a certain application or research area you'd like us to cover in a future app note.

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Automotive & Aerospace

EBSD Characterisation of a high-strength lightweight steel

Understanding microstructure is fundamental to producing steels with specific mechanical properties for automotive applications. The integration of EBSD & EDS is a powerful microanalytical solution for monitoring microstructure, which aids the understanding of the relationship between materials processing, microstructure and performance...

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EBSD in situ Heating of an aluminium alloy

This technical note highlights the performance of the NordlysMax2 detector in combination with AZtecHKL software to acquire simultaneous EBSD/EDS data from tungsten heavy alloy (WHA). The highest acquisition speed achieved was 870Hz with a hit rate >98% at 20kV acceleration voltage and 16.6nA probe current.

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In situ EBSD Analysis of a Bent Al Alloy

This study presents changes in microstructure characterised by EBSD in the tensile region of a bent Al alloy 6063 sheet during in-situ isochronal heating. It has been shown that the bending process generates both a texture and strain gradient across the bent region. This study takes this into account in order to follow the recovery and recrystallisation driven by strain gradient.

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Bioimaging & Life Science

Detailed EBSD Study of a Bivalve Shell

An in-depth look at the structures of a mussel shell, characterised using Symmetry. Both calcite and nanostructured aragonite nacre are measured with an unprecedented level of detail and speed.

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EBSD on the Nacre Structure of a Pearl (Hyriopsis cumingii) with 100 nm Resolution - Busting a Myth

Nacre of pearls and mollusc shells is a hybrid nano composite of aragonite (CaCo3) platelets and biopolymers

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Recent Advances in Biological EDS Multiple Detectors

The very large active area and high sensitivity offered by multiple detector systems is very attractive to those analysts wishing to analyse highly beam sensitive materials or biological matter. The high collection efficiency allows users to analyse cryogenic samples accurately and quickly, maximising count rates at low kV and small spot sizes and with minimum beam damage.

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Energy Generation & Storage

Characterisation of all-oxide solar cells using AZtec LayerProbe

Photovoltaic (PV) cells are an attractive option for generating low carbon renewable energy but traditional designs often include undesirable toxic compounds and must be manufactured under special conditions. The all-oxide approach to photovoltaic cells is thus very attractive...

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EBSD and EDS in the analysis of thin-film solar cells based on Cu(In,Ga)Se2 absorber layers

An important part of the research and development of thin-film solar cells is the characterisation of microstructural and compositional properties of the functional layers.

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Characterisation of Hydrides in a Zirconium Alloy, by EBSD

Zirconium alloys are used in nuclear reactors owing to their low capture cross-section for thermal neutrons and good mechanical and corrosion properties. However, they suffer from delayed hydrogen cracking (DHC) due to formation of hydride particles. This study shows how EBSD can be used to characterise hydrides in terms of their orientation relationship with the matrix and internal structure and local misorientation.

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Solar cells from chalcopyrite-type thin films analysed by electron backscatter diffraction

Solar energy conversion is part of a long term strategy to ensure a stable and adequate supply of electrical power in the future. Photovoltaics are the only method of converting sunlight directly into electrical energy. The efficiency of a photovoltaic system is measured...

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Identifying contaminants in Li-Ion battery production using AZtecFeature

Lithium Ion batteries are found in most mobile electronic devices (e.g. laptop computers, phones etc). They are the dominant battery technology due to their superior energy to weight ratio and lack of memory effect. They are also the primary battery type used in the latest generation of electric and hybrid cars.

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SEM based analysis of Lithium ion battery materials

New and existing materials for lithium ion batteries are being studied extensively with the aim of increasing their storage capacity and lifetime. While the SEM is an important tool in the study of these materials, characterising the distribution of Li still remains one of the main challenges.

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Forensics & Environment

Asbestos analysis in the TEM

Asbestos is often analysed using an SEM because of its high resolution and the benefit of chemical analysis through EDS. However TEM is the preferred route due to superior image and spectral resolution and the ability to obtain diffraction patterns from fibres which adds another dimension to identification of these minerals.

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Automated Analysis of Suspected Asbestos Fibres

The automated analysis of asbestos in the SEM by EDS is a powerful technique that enables the quantity, composition, and morphology of suspected asbestos fibres to be quickly characterised. This application note discusses the use of AZtecFeature to perform the analysis of these challenging samples.

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AZtec Gunshot Residue Analysis

This four page note discusses the use of AZtecGSR, a dedicated implementation of the AZtecFeature particle analysis system, for the analysis of a GSR sample.

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Forensic Reconstruction of Removed Serial Numbers with EBSD

Here, we demonstrate the ability of EBSD to detect otherwise invisible plastic deformation introduced to the sample by the engraving process – allowing the reconstruction of a polished away serial number.

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Geology, Petrology & Mining

Analysis of a Manganese Nodule with AZtecEnergy and INCAMineral

By using a range of solutions within Oxford Instruments’ AZtec and INCA software suite, detailed qualitative and quantitative information can be gained on the chemistry and mineralogy of geological samples of a wide range of types.

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Automated Analysis of Sections of Geological Materials

The manual characterisation of cut sections of geological materials can be a laborious, time consuming process which can be very subjective. AZtecFeature, used in conjunction with large area X-MaxN SDDs can automate this process enabling complex mineralogies to be characterised quickly and accurately.

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Phase characterisation of an Igneous Rock and validation of the result using EBSD

This application note examines how the AutoPhaseMap technique can be used to determine and characterise the phases present in an igneous rock.The results are compared to the phase mapping results calculated from an EBSD dataset collected simultaneously with the EDS acquisition, to validate the result of the AutoPhaseMap method.

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Automatic discovery of minor phases

This application note examines how the AutoPhaseMap technique can uncover previously missed minor phases - even when their constituent elements are not known to be present in advance.

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Classification of igneous rocks using automatic phase mapping with AZtecEnergy

This application note examines how AutoPhaseMap can be used to determine the modal percentages of different minerals in an igneous rock, and from this result classify its type.

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Characterising Complex Rock Samples

An eclogite sample containing 10 phases has been rapidly analysed using integrated EBSD and EDS. The performance of Symmetry enables high pattern resolution and good indexing, even at 250 pps.

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Fast Characterisation of Deformed Quartz Rocks

A relatively simple geological sample, a quartz mylonite, is here characterised in a matter of minutes using Symmetry, collecting data at almost 1000 pps.

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Detailed EBSD Study of a Bivalve Shell

An in-depth look at the structures of a mussel shell, characterised using Symmetry. Both calcite and nanostructured aragonite nacre are measured with an unprecedented level of detail and speed.

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Large area EBSD mapping of quartz layers sheared around rigid porphyroclasts

Large-area EBSD mapping allows large quantities of information relating to microstructural deformation to be obtained, enabling the history and evolution of a geological sample to be revealed. This study investigates the microstructural response of quartz layers to flow around rigid secondary garnet porphyroclasts during ductile deformation.

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Integrating EBSD and magnetic susceptibility data to decipher intensity of SPO and strain in deformed quartzite

In this note, the authors demonstrate the robustness of using grain shape data obtained on the basis of crystallographic information from EBSD analysis to quantify SPO and strain in XZ section of deformed quartzite.

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Large Area EDS Mapping - Phase distribution in archaeological samples

Detailed surface analysis of samples which are extremely large in size and contain a distribution of object sizes from micro- to nano-scale can pose a challenge when faced with a limited analysis time. Obtaining elemental maps at low magnifications by conventional analysis at relatively low pixel density can misrepresent the chemical and structural composition.

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Mineral Liberation Analysis using INCAMineral

Mineral liberation is a critical stage in the production of high quality mineralogical concentrates from their ores. The products(concentrates) must be of a suitable degree of purity for the downstream processes in which they will be used.  This application note gives an overview into the process of mineral liberation analysis in a scanning electron microscope.

 

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Metals, Alloys, Composite & Ceramics

AZtec Grain Analysis

The grain size is an important parameter of a material, it will strongly affect mechanical and physical properties. Understanding how grain size is influenced through the processing of materials, can assist in engineering materials with optimised properties.

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AZtec Reclassify Phase - Discriminating phases in steels

Austenite, ferrite, martensite and bainite are common phases in different steel alloys and the relative proportions of these different phases impact how the steel will behave in different regimes. Distinguishing martensite, bainite and ferrite is a challenge as the crystal structure of these three phases is essentially the same...

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Characterisation of an additively manufactured Ni-base superalloy

X-Max® Extreme provides the capability to investigate the elemental distribution in structures down to the 10 nm
scale in the SEM due to its high sensitivity when working at very low accelerating voltage.

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High Resolution EBSD Mapping of Martensitic Steel

Martensitic structures are traditionally challenging to measure with EBSD. Here, the sensitivity and pattern detail provided by Symmetry enables exceptional results from a martensitic stainless steel.

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Grain characterisation of a steel wire

EBSD is the ideal technique for determining grain size, here we report on the application to a steel wire.

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Applying nanomanipulation to the EBSD analysis of a gold wire

This application note describes a method of combining Oxford Instrument’s OmniProbe tools and AZtec EBSD system for the manipulation and analysis of a 5μm diameter gold microelectronic wire sample.

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AZtec Synergy - Phase identification in a high temperature Steel

This technical note illustrates the capability of Oxford Instruments AZtecSynergy microanalysis system using the Tru-I® indexing engine to perform Phase Identification.

 

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Determining optimum sample thickness for TKD using AZtec

This application note discusses the effect of sample thickness and density on TKD results.

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Identification of Martensite in Steel by EBSD

In this study, a 1.8715-steel was analysed using combined EBSD/EDS-analysis with the aim of identifying martensite and retained austenite regions in a ferrite matrix.

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Grain Size characterisation of a steel sample using the AZtecHKL EBSD system

EBSD is an ideal technique for determining grain size, it offers microstructural characterisation including grain size, grain boundary characterisation and texture quantification. Here a galvanized steel wire is examined using AZtecHKL.

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Phase characterisation of an Aluminium Alloy using EDS

The AutoPhaseMap module in the Oxford Instruments’ EDS software, AZtecEnergy, automatically finds areas of different characteristic composition from X-ray map data, and determines the distribution, area, constituent elements and composition of each of these areas or phases. This application note examines how this can be used to characterise an aluminium alloy and its inter-metallic phases.

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AZtecSteel

This technical bulletin describes the use of AZtecSteel to classify steel inclusions, including the data processing and reporting.

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EBSD and EDS Characterisation of high entropy alloys

A high entropy alloy has been developed from an equiatomic AlCoCrCuFeNi alloy. Due to its promising properties, such as high corrosion and oxidation resistance and high thermal stability, it is a candidate for various applications at elevated temperature as, e.g., furnace parts, tools and moulds.

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Improving the spatial resolution of EBSD using transmission Kikuchi diffraction in the SEM

This application note illustrates the application of TKD to a nanostructured nickel sample and a highly deformed stainless steel, both of which were impossible to characterise using conventional EBSD.

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From Microanalysis to Nanoanalysis - in One Acquisition

In this study, we look at how AutoPhaseMap is applied to study phases on the scale of 100mm - and those as small of 100nm - in a steel slag sample using SmartMap spectral mapping data collected in a single acquisition.

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Phase characterisation of nanoscale intermetallic phases in a Ni-based alloy

This application note examines how AutoPhaseMapcan be used to investigate the chemistry and distribution of nanoscale intermetallic phases in a Ni-based alloy which are on the scale of 150-1000 nm.

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AZtecSynergy and BLG CrossCourt 3 EBSD Characterisation of a Crept Nickel Alloy

Microanalysis is a powerful tool in understanding potential failure mechanisms and potential life time of many materials. In this example, the microstructure and damage distribution following creep deformation of a nickel superalloy is studied using EBSD and EDS

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EBSD of Industrial Materials after Specimen Preparation using Broad Beam Ion Milling

This note illustrates how Broad Beam Ion Milling has been used to produce improved quality of EBSD data from specimen such as aluminium, zirconium, magnesium, titanium alloys and galvanized zinc coatings - which are usually difficult to prepare by mechanical routes only.

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EBSD Microstructural Characterisation of an Alumina Insulator

Careful sample preparation enables good quality EBSD data to be collected from an alumina insulator. This data provides valuable information on the microstructure of the material – in particular grain size and distribution, texture and porosity.

 

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Rapid Characterisation of Steel and Ni

The Symmetry detector is ideal for the routine characterisation of metal samples at speeds up to 3000 pps. Here it is used to characterise a deformed Ni superalloy and a large area across a welded duplex steel.

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Addressing pseudo-symmetric mis-indexing in the EBSD analysis of gamma-TiAl

This application note describes an application of AZtec Refined Accuracy in solving pseudosymmetry problems in gamma-TiAl.

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Semiconductors, Microelectronics & Data Storage

Applying nanomanipulation to the EBSD analysis of a gold wire

This application note describes a method of combining Oxford Instrument’s OmniProbe tools and AZtec EBSD system for the manipulation and analysis of a 5μm diameter gold microelectronic wire sample.

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Mapping Semiconductor Devices in the SEM

As semiconductor devices continue to decrease in size to improve performance and take advantage of advances in fabrication techniques, there is a need to analyse both their structure and chemistry at ever increasing resolution.

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Analysing a NAND Flash memory device using low kV EDS

The combination of X-Max Extreme with GeminiSEM 500 provides a uniquely convenient and powerful imaging and analysis tool for investigating the morphology and chemistry of nano-structures down to less than 10nm. Using the example of ferrocerium nano-particles and GaInAs quantum dots this capability is demonstrated in practice…

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Semiconductor Mapping in the TEM - Solving peak overlaps in real-time

Development and testing of semiconductor devices requires extensive knowledge of local structure and elemental composition. With feature sizes of <5 nm, it is often necessary to perform imaging and EDS analysis in a S / TEM.

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High quality TEM lamella preparation and on-tip analysis using LayerProbe and the OmniProbe 400

Here we present a new technique that enables measurement of the local thickness and composition of TEM lamellae and discuss its application to the failure analysis of semiconductor devices.

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Simultaneous EDS and EELS

Simultaneous acquisition of EDS and EELS is a powerful tool for materials analysis.

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LayerProbe - Analysing Flexible Electronics

LayerProbe enables the analyst to separate the contributions of the substrate and the structures and enables measurements of the thickness and composition at high resolution and in a non-destructive manner.

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