SEM-EBSD analysis laboratory

What is Scanning Electron Microscopy EBSD (SEM-EBSD)?

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM-EDX) is a laboratory microscopy technique that uses a Field Emission Gun (FEG) to produce very high resolution images of the surface of a sample (magnification of the order of *1000000).

The EBSD (Electron BackScatter) is an imaging mode in diffraction of backscattered electrons that can be associated with the SEM. This technique is used for the characterization of microstructures and crystallographic properties (such as grain size, deformation, texture…) of a sample. This particularity allows a qualitative analysis of the chemical homogeneity of a sample.

The FILAB analysis laboratory is now one of the first French laboratories to be equipped with the Zeiss SEM-EDX-EBSD model GEMINI SEM…. This SEM microscopic analysis tool is particularly powerful and efficient for quick diagnoses (pollution, inclusion…) or more complex expertises.

Discover examples of applications of Scanning Electron Microscopy SEM-EBSD, specific to your field of activity:

  • LUXURY (Jewellery, Watchmaking, Leather goods…)

EBSD is employed for profiling and visualizing the intricate crystalline structures of solid-state materials, significantly impacting their physical and mechanical properties. As a result, EBSD finds applications in metallurgy for examining metal and alloy compositions, as well as in geological sciences for studying the influence of microstructures on rock and ore formation.


Considering that crystal structure affects magnetic and electrical properties, EBSD can also aid in the development of materials used in manufacturing computers, smart devices, and electrical supply equipment. Moreover, EBSD serves as a valuable tool for failure analysis, identifying the causes of corrosion or fracturing in various samples like thin films, metals, and semiconductor devices.

The EBSD detector connects to a scanning electron microscope, and a flat crystalline sample is inserted into the sample chamber for analysis. Electrons are then fired at the sample, typically at an angle of 70 degrees. The electrons interact with the sample and scatter upon colliding with the atoms within its structure.


These scattered electrons reach a phosphorescent screen, forming a pattern that depicts the diffraction and crystal structure of the sample. This data can be analyzed to make calculations and observations about the crystal structure, including grain shape, size, and orientation. Additionally, when combined with data acquired using an EDX detector, the elemental composition of the sample can be determined.

X-ray diffraction (XRD) is a scattering technique similar to EBSD. X-rays, being more penetrating than electrons, enable users to explore crystal structures deeply. XRD produces primarily quantitative data, which requires further interpretation or modeling to visualize the crystal structure. Thus, XRD is ideal for understanding bulk structures at a fundamental level. On the other hand, EBSD generates diffraction pattern images, offering one interpretation of a visual crystal structure. It provides surface and sub-surface analysis, making it suitable for studying localized microstructures rather than the overall structure. XRD and EBSD can be used in combination to obtain a comprehensive data set.

EBSD provides a fast and reliable method for analyzing crystal structures. It operates in a visual medium, enabling researchers to interpret results visually as well as mathematically. This technique offers data on multiple symmetry planes simultaneously, facilitating a comprehensive understanding of specific regions within a crystal structure.


However, a key limitation of EBSD is the requirement for a clean and undamaged sample surface to obtain accurate results. This necessitates intensive polishing and potentially multiple attempts to achieve high-quality outcomes.

Thomas ROUSSEAU Scientific and Technical Director
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