Broad ion beam serial section tomography

B. Winiarski, A. Gholinia, K. Mingard, M. Gee, G.E. Thompson, P.J. Withers
  • Ultramicroscopy, January 2017, Elsevier
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.ultramic.2016.10.014

What is it about?

Here we examine the potential of serial Broad Ion Beam (BIB) Ar+ ion polishing as an advanced serial section tomography (SST) technique for destructive 3D material characterisation for collecting data from volumes with lateral dimensions significantly greater than 100 µm and potentially over millimetre sized areas. Further, the associated low level of damage introduced makes BIB milling very well suited to 3D EBSD acquisition with very high indexing rates. Block face serial sectioning data registration schemes usually assume that the data comprises a series of parallel, planar slices. We quantify the variations in slice thickness and parallelity which can arise when using BIB systems comparing Gatan PECS and Ilion BIB systems for large volume serial sectioning and 3D-EBSD data acquisition. As a test case we obtain 3D morphologies and grain orientations for both phases of a WC-11%wt. Co hardmetal. In our case we have carried out the data acquisition through the manual transfer of the sample between SEM and BIB which is a very slow process (1–2 slice per day), however forthcoming automated procedures will markedly speed up the process. We show that irrespective of the sectioning method raw large area 2D-EBSD maps are affected by distortions and artefacts which affect 3D-EBSD such that quantitative analyses and visualisation can give misleading and erroneous results. Addressing and correcting these issues will offer real benefits when large area (millimetre sized) automated serial section BIBS is developed.

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The following have contributed to this page: Professor Philip J Withers