What is it about?
There are a huge array of characterization techniques available today and increasingly powerful computing resources allowing for the effective analysis and modelling of large datasets. However, each experimental and modelling tool only spans limited time and length scales. Correlative tomography can be thought of as the extension of correlative microscopy into three dimensions connecting different techniques, each providing different types of information, or covering different time or length scales. Here the focus is on the linking of time lapse X-ray computed tomography (CT) and serial section electron tomography using the focussed ion beam (FIB)-scanning electron microscope to study the degradation of metals. Correlative tomography can provide new levels of detail by delivering a multiscale 3D picture of key regions of interest. Specifically, the Xe + Plasma FIB is used as an enabling tool for large-volume high-resolution serial sectioning of materials, and also as a tool for preparation of microscale test samples and samples for nanoscale X-ray CT imaging. The exemplars presented illustrate general aspects relating to correlative workflows, as well as to the time-lapse characterisation of metal microstructures during various failure mechanisms, including ductile fracture of steel and the corrosion of aluminium and magnesium alloys. Correlative tomography is already providing significant insights into materials behaviour, linking together information from different instruments across different scales. Multiscale and multifaceted work flows will become increasingly routine, providing a feed into multiscale materials models as well as illuminating other areas, particularly where hierarchical structures are of interest.
The following have contributed to this page: Professor Philip J Withers