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Electron Backscatter Diffraction - EBSD

What is EBSD?

Schematic drawing of the ideal geometry for combined EBSD and EDS analyses in the SEM chamber

EBSD is a scanning electron microscope (SEM) based technique for materials characterisation. In EBSD, the electron beam is scanned across the surface of a tilted crystalline sample; the diffracted electrons at each point form a pattern that can be detected and then analysed using dedicated hardware and software. At each point the indexing process provides information about the phase and the crystallographic orientation from which the microstructure can be effectively reconstructed. This enables a full characterisation of the microstructural properties of the sample. EBSD is now fast and fully automated, making it a powerful tool in many industries and research fields, as shown in the table below. 

More information about the EBSD technique and its applications can be found on the educational website,

The Oxford Instruments AZtec EBSD system combines the speed and sensitivity of the world's only all-in-one EBSD detector, Symmetry S3, the superior analytical performance of the AZtecHKL acquisition software and the powerful, modern data processing capabilities of AZtecCrystal to create the market’s leading tool for EBSD analysis.

Our EBSD product range...

Example of AZtecHKL Software


AZtecHKL is a flexible yet intuitive EBSD data acquisition software platform, designed for ease of use and to deliver consistently high-quality results. Based around a series of dedicated navigators and fully integrated with EDS, AZtecHKL makes any type of EBSD or transmission Kikuchi diffraction (TKD) data acquisition a routine task.

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Symmetry S3 Detector

CMOS EBSD Detectors

Our CMOS range of detectors , including the market-leading Symmetry S3, the C-Nano+ and the C-Swift+, all deliver exceptional performance for every type of EBSD analysis. Benefiting from a unique lens-free fibre optic design, our CMOS detectors combine unparalleled sensitivity with excellent analysis speeds, ensuring optimum data quality from any sample.

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Example of AZtecCrystal Software


AZtecCrystal is a future-proof, innovative EBSD data processing software package that combines a modern interface with a host of high-end functionality.  Constantly developing, AZtecCrystal now includes unique tools such as dislocation analysis & parent grain reconstruction, with MapSweeper enabling advanced dataset reanalysis using pattern matching techniques.

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Discover how to get more from EBSD...

What can EBSD be used for? 

EBSD is a highly versatile technique, providing a wealth of microstructural information across different scales, including phase fractions, grain structures, boundary populations, strain distribution and crystallographic texture. This makes it a powerful characterisation tool across a wide range of research fields and industries, as indicated in the table below. More detailed information about the applications of EBSD can be found here



Typical EBSD Measurements

AcademiaMetalsGrain size
Materials ScienceAlloysTexture
Metals processing & ProductionIntermetallicsPhase Identification
AerospaceThin FilmsPhase distribution
AutomotiveSemiconductorsFailure Analysis
Government & DefenceSuperconductorsStrain Analysis
PetrochemicalCeramicsDeformation & recrystallisation
NuclearRocks & mineralsGrain boundaries
ChemicalBiomaterialsCSL boundary distribution
MicroelectronicsParticlesPhase transformation
Earth SciencesIceFracture analysis
Energy / BatteriesNanomaterialsParent grain analysis
EnvironmentElastic properties

EBSD Training

We understand the importance of getting the most out of your EBSD system. That is why, as well as providing extensive educational material in the “Learning” section of this website and on, we also offer a range of EBSD training courses for our customers. These can be at your site, in one of our bespoke training facilities or even online: there is an ideal course for everyone.

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AZtec software on laptop

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