EBSD is applicable to most crystalline materials with the exception of nanomaterials with grain/cell diameters smaller ~100 nanometers. The limitation is given by the spatial resolution of the technique for each particular experimental case.
While significant spatial resolution improvements can be achieved by decreasing the beam acceleration voltage there are still many cases of materials that are very difficult to characterize using the EBSD technique. The Transmission Kikuchi Diffraction (TKD) technique, also known as Transmission EBSD (t-EBSD), has been recently introduced as a SEM-based method capable of delivering the same type of results as EBSD but with a spatial resolution improved by one order of magnitude. TKD requires the EBSD infrastructure (hardware and software) and a sample thin enough to be electron transparent, e.g. TEM thin lamellae.
Bruker’s QUANTAX EBSD is now capable of automatic mapping using the TKD technique. Its TKD mode was designed to be user friendly and allow the acquisition of high quality data regardless of the user experience level. QUANTAX EBSD's unique ARGUS™ FSE/BSE imaging system can be used for acquiring orientation contrast images with unprecedented resolution.
The results shown here were obtained with both techniques from an ultra fine-grained Si thin film deposited on a glass substrate. The EBSD results were acquired at 7kV EHT using 30nm step size while the TKD results were obtained using a beam acceleration of 30kV and a step size of 11nm. Please note that no data cleaning was applied to the results.
Special thanks to: Ms. Anna Lendvai (Technoorg Linda Ltd., Hungary) for helping with the delicate process of removing the glass substrate necessary for the TKD measurements.