Rapid and Large-Scale Sample Preparation for EBSD using the ZEISS LaserFIB

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Dr. Fang Zhou
Tobias Volkenandt

Dipl.-Phys. Apps Development Specialist, ZEISS Microscopy

Dr. Frank Hitzel
Tim Schubert

Research Associate, Material Research Institute Aalen


With the advent of faster and more sensitive EBSD cameras and high beam current scanning electron microscopes (SEM), the actual EBSD acquisition is no longer the time-limiting factor for studies of grain structure or internal strain. It is now the sample preparation, which is typically done by vibratory polishing or in-situ focused ion beam (FIB) polishing. Both methods have their limitations when it comes to either site-specificity or preparation of large regions of interest.

In this webinar we present a solution to overcome these limitations using the ZEISS LaserFIB. A LaserFIB is the combination of a FIB-SEM with a femtosecond laser system for fast material ablation. The use of the laser facilitates extremely fast sample machining and surface preparation. Together with the high-resolution imaging and post-polishing capabilities of the FIB-SEM, this enables rapid and precise relocation and preparation of specific regions of interest for EBSD analysis.

We show several real-world examples of metal surfaces suitable for EBSD grain mapping, rapidly prepared using the LaserFIB. The total preparation time for e.g. a 300 x 200 µm large EBSD-suitable region of interest can be as short as 5 minutes. FIB post-polishing can be readily applied in-situ. However, you will see that the surface quality of the just laser polished cross-sections is sufficient for decent EBSD experiments.

Key Learnings:

  • Explore the technical details of the LaserFIB as the combination of a FIB-SEM with a femtosecond laser system for fast material ablation
  • Learn how the LaserFIB can be used to rapidly prepare large regions of interest for EBSD analysis
  • See for yourself the surface quality of just laser polished cross-sections which is sufficient to generate a decent EBSD signal without the need for FIB post-polishing

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