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NUANCE: Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center

OMEC Minimizes Distortion in Resolving Polycrystalline Structures

March 26, 2018 - NUANCE has assisted material science researchers in finding a less costly way to study the orientation of grain structures without distortion. “Stage-Rocked Electron Channeling for Crystal Orientation Mapping” was published Monday in Nature Scientific Reports. Karl Hujsak said most materials we encounter day-to-day are composed of a highly heterogeneous set of oriented crystals or grains. How these grains share boundaries tells much about the mechanical or electrical properties of a material and many Material Scientists and Microscopists spend a great deal of time studying their arrangement. But it was costly and imaging the orientations of the structures frequently led to distorted images.

This discovery provides an inexpensive route to image poly-crystalline grain structures, potentially impacting fundamental studies of new materials, and improve quality control of consumer and industrial materials. Hujsak added that the discovery will also aide Material Scientists and Engineers in gaining a more precise understanding of the grain structure and improve the availability of orientation maps.

This discovery benefits everything from the manufacturing of electronics to automobiles as it gives both scientists and engineers the ability to understand the micro-structure of materials.

Hujsak explained that Materials Scientists engaged in the fundamental study of structure/property relationships will likely be able to observe more materials and gain a more precise understand of their underlying structure. Materials design crucially relies on the ability to understand how many small domains of oriented crystals arrange themselves into the larger macro-scopic materials we can hold in our hands, Hujsak said.

“Previously, connecting the orientations of these polycrystals to the properties of a material relied on expensive instrumentation that suffered from unavoidable distortion, which made it difficult to draw very precise conclusions,” Hujsak said. “Now we have developed a new method for performing the same imaging with readily available instruments while minimizing distortion. This may potentially allow for very precise understanding and engineering of functional materials.”Karl A. Hujsak, Benjamin D. Myers, Jann Grovogui, Vinayak P. Dravid