Journal of microscopy

Making EBSD on water ice routine.

PMID 25925223


Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) on ice is a decade old. We have built upon previous work to select and develop methods of sample preparation and analysis that give >90% success rate in obtaining high-quality EBSD maps, for the whole surface area (potentially) of low porosity (<15%) water ice samples, including very fine-grained (<10 μm) and very large (up to 70 mm by 30 mm) samples. We present and explain two new methods of removing frost and providing a damage-free surface for EBSD: pressure cycle sublimation and 'ironing'. In general, the pressure cycle sublimation method is preferred as it is easier, faster and does not generate significant artefacts. We measure the thermal effects of sample preparation, transfer and storage procedures and model the likelihood of these modifying sample microstructures. We show results from laboratory ice samples, with a wide range of microstructures, to illustrate effectiveness and limitations of EBSD on ice and its potential applications. The methods we present can be implemented, with a modest investment, on any scanning electron microscope system with EBSD, a cryostage and a variable pressure capability.