Resolution and sensitivity of electron backscattered diffraction in a cold field emission gun SEM

Thomas C. Isabell, Vinayak P. Dravid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The tradeoff between sensitivity and spatial resolution is inherent in all analytical techniques. Electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) in a scanning electron microscope (SEM) is no exception, and determining this tradeoff for EBSD is the focus of this contribution. Because the specimen is tilted in EBSD (typically at 70), the spatial resolution needs to be defined with respect to three orthogonal directions; as lateral resolution (within the specimen plane but normal to beam direction), longitudinal resolution (within the specimen plane but parallel to beam direction) and depth resolution (extent of depth information). The significance of these different resolution criteria becomes relevant for interface analysis, and is demonstrated using a variety of materials systems and electron-optical parameters. The sensitivity of EBSD is directly related to the ability of backscattered electrons (BSEs) to produce sufficient contrast in the Kikuchi pattern at the recording medium (phosphor in our case). The various parameters which govern the sensitivity of EBSD are discussed with the help of experimental analysis. It is argued that EBSD/OIM is a viable technique even in a cold field emission grin SEM, where there is less absolute current available and stability of current is less than for other electron sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Jun 1 1997
EventProceedings of the 1996 6th Conference on Frontiers in Electron Microscopy in Materials Science - Oak Brook, IL, USA
Duration: Jun 4 1996Jun 7 1996


  • Backscattered electrons (BSEs)
  • Cold field emission gun (cFEG)
  • Electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD)
  • Orientation imaging microscopy (OIM)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation


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