Characterizing deformed ultrafine-grained and nanocrystalline materials using transmission Kikuchi diffraction in a scanning electron microscope

Patrick W. Trimby, Yang Cao, Zibin Chen, Shuang Han, Kevin J. Hemker, Jianshe Lian, Xiaozhou Liao, Paul Rottmann, Saritha Samudrala, Jingli Sun, Jing Tao Wang, John Wheeler, Julie M. Cairney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


The recent development of transmission Kikuchi diffraction (TKD) in a scanning electron microscope enables fast, automated orientation mapping of electron transparent samples using standard electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) hardware. TKD in a scanning electron microscope has significantly better spatial resolution than conventional EBSD, enabling routine characterization of nanocrystalline materials and allowing effective measurement of samples that have undergone severe plastic deformation. Combining TKD with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) provides complementary chemical information, while a standard forescatter detector system below the EBSD detector can be used to generate dark field and oriented dark field images. Here we illustrate the application of this exciting new approach to a range of deformed, ultrafine grained and nanocrystalline samples, including duplex stainless steel, nanocrystalline copper and highly deformed titanium and nickel-cobalt. The results show that TKD combined with EDS is a highly effective and widely accessible tool for measuring key microstructural parameters at resolutions that are inaccessible using conventional EBSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
JournalActa Materialia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful for the assistance of technical staff at the Australian Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis at the University of Sydney, a node of the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility, and in particular Adam Sikorski for his help with sample preparation. Andrew McVicar and Gemma Thompson at the School of Chemistry, the University of Sydney, are thanked for facilitating, designing and constructing the TKD sample holder used for this research. Scott Sitzman (Oxford Instruments Nanoanalysis) is thanked for discussions relating to TKD and the use of forescatter detectors, including the suggestion to invert one of the diode signals. K.J.H. would like to acknowledge the support of The US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences (DE-FG02-07ER46437) and National Science Foundation (DMR-1008156). J.M.C. and X.L. acknowledge support from the Australian Research Council.


  • Electron backscatter diffraction
  • Nanocrystalline
  • Severe plastic deformation
  • Transmission Kikuchi diffraction
  • Ultrafine grained

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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