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Correlative Imaging of Material Properties with AFM and EBSD

Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) can measure nanoscale topography along with a range of electrical, mechanical, and functional properties. Sometimes additional information about the composition or crystallographic structure of the materials can help interpret or validate the AFM results. This application note presents one such case in which both AFM and Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) were used to map the stiffness and modulus of individual grains in a copper alloy.

The sample stiffness was measured in Contact Resonance mode on an Asylum Research Cypher S AFM. The sample modulus was calculated from the crystallographic orientation data measured by an Oxford Instruments NanoAnalysis Symmetry EBSD detector. Despite the two very different techniques, the results correlated well with each other. This simple example demonstrates the potential for correlative imaging with AFM and EBSD. Similar approaches could be used with other AFM imaging modalities and with other SEM/TEM NanoAnalysis tools, including Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS).

The application note describes:

  • How microstructural data complements direct mechanical measurements
  • The types of microstructural data available from EBSD
  • How stiffness can be measured directly with contact resonance mode AFM
  • How these results correlate in the case of a copper alloy sample
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