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EBSD Analysis System Offers Maximum Flexibility

The Bruker Corporation has had a long and fruitful relationship with the field of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) an investment that is continuing under the Bruker Nano GmbH designation as they continue to extend the discipline of microanalysis into nanoanalysis.

SEM is a very impressive imaging technique and even the general public is aware of its potential thanks to the frequent use of micrographs in popular science programmes. However, the production of beautiful pictures is only one aspect of what is a very powerful analytical tool, particularly in materials science.

Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS or EDX/EDAX) and Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) are two of the most powerful SEM analytical techniques and Bruker Nano have continued to advance their application of these techniques over successive generations of equipment. EDS is used for the chemical (elemental) characterisation of a SEM sample whereas EBSD is a micro-crystallographic technique for examining orientation and related data in crystalline or polycrystalline materials.

It therefore makes sense to offer an EBSD analysis system with EDS capabilities if at all possible. With their QUANTAX EBSD CrystAlign Bruker Nano have produced a state-of-the-art EBSD analysis system that offers maximum flexibility, and optional EDS, yet is also remarkably easy to use.

CrystAlign features the e-Flash detector series, which has several notable features. EBSD systems typically have detectors that enable fast but low resolution measurements to be made, or higher resolution but more ‘time intensive' detectors. The e-Flash1000 is currently the fastest detector available commercially, but accuracy and precision are not surrendered here - it outperforms other comparable detectors and can also provide a ‘stepping stone' to dedicated high resolution detectors such as the e-FlashHR.

Again, Bruker have produced a ‘best in class' - it operates with a native resolution of 1600x1200 pixels - and provides pattern images with incredible detail, making it eminently suitable for EBSD analysis of poorly conducting nanomaterials. These detectors are both designed to be accommodated easily and efficiently inside a wide variety of microscope chambers and unique safety features help ensure operator and equipment integrity, even when the detector is off.

Damage to the screen is prevented by a contact-activated, fast-retrieval mechanism and the screen can also be repositioned vertically even when in position under vacuum - another example of the flexibility that is the heart of Bruker Nano's thinking. Further flexibility to core EBSD analysis functions is also provided by the optional ARGUSTM forescattered/ backscattered electron detector system that can produce colour images where traditional detectors only produce greyscale images.

The advanced functionality of the CrystAlign is of limited use though if the equipment is difficult to operate. Here Bruker Nano have helped the novice, and saved time for the expert, by including a ‘signal assistant' and a ‘calibration assistant'. 

The former software tool ensures optimally exposed pattern images by adjusting camera setting at the start of a run while the latter ensures exact pattern centre calibration without the need for a calibration standard. With operation seamlessly integrated into the ESPRIT software suit EBSD, and EDS, has never been easier, safer or more accurate.  

Date added: 2015-05-25 14:17:41