Specimen preparation for Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) is critical, because diffracted electrons escape from within only a few tens of nanometres of the specimen surface.
If material near the surface is deformed, contaminated, or oxidized, then the EBSD signal may be suppressed and analysis will not be successful.
For many materials, standard preparation methods may be employed successfully with care. As a general rule standard preparation methods can be progressed to the final polishing stage without any deviation from the normal route employed. Thereafter, an additional polishing stage using colloidal silica is all that is required to achieve a finish suitable for EBSD.
However, different materials respond differently to common
preparation methods and composite materials are even more challenging.
Specimen holder with mounted samples
Therefore the material under investigation should be considered on an individual basis and prepared appropriately. The manufacturers of preparation equipment should be consulted for the applicability of a given approach for a given material and are generally able to provide preparation recipes or recommendations for a wide range of materials.
With good sample preparation it becomes possible to obtain information about the microstructure by use of EBSD, thereby providing information about the material properties.
Specimen holder with un-mounted samples
Images courtesy of Struers.