What is Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD)?

What is Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD)?

Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) is used to quantify a crystalline material’s microstructure. It is available on our Zeiss Auriga SEM/FIB instrument.
EBSD results from the interaction of an electron beam with a tilted crystalline sample. Diffracted electrons form a pattern characteristic of the crystal structure and orientation detected with a fluorescent screen. These diffraction patterns are then used to determine the crystal orientation, discriminate crystallographically different phases, characterize grain boundaries, and resolve local crystalline deformation.

The Oxford Symmetry S2 EBSD camera has a CMOS detector capable of analyzing over 3000 electron backscatter diffraction patterns per second. This accommodates the rapid analysis of crystallographic features, such as phase identification, the mapping of crystallographic orientations, or the analysis of strain and stress features in a crystalline material at a spatial resolution down to 30 nm.

Data acquisition is controlled with the Integrated Oxford AZtec software suite that uses crystallographic databases for phase definition. This application contains all tools necessary to collect and solve EBSD patterns. For data processing, the AZtec Crystal software can generate sophisticated maps, pole figures, and grain property analyses from EBSD data.

A Pace GIGA vibratory polisher equipped with a variety of sample holders and 60 nm colloidal silica solution is used to remove mechanical damage from the upper surface of samples to prepare them for EBSD analysis.


  • Geology, Mineralogy
  • Semiconductors and Microelectronics
  • Metals, Alloys, Composites, Ceramics
  • Energy Generation and Storage

Key Analytical Advantages

  • Rapid, non-destructive analysis of tens of nm to mm-size regions of interest
  • Simultaneous acquisition of EBSD and EDS data to enhance phase identification
  • Sophisticated software that improves data acquisition and data reduction


  • Phase identification
  • Strain analysis
  • Grain size distribution
  • Grain orientation analysis


Axel Wittmann
Associate Research Scientist