The group Microstructure Analysis and Metallography is a central facility at the Institute of Materials Research. Characterisation of materials with respect to microstructure, chemical and phase composition is carried out as a scientific and technical service. These works deliver an essential contribution to the understanding of the interrelationship between materials synthesis and properties. The interpretation of the microstructure and analytic data is carried out in close collaboration with the other departments and work groups of our institute.
At the institute of Materials research, light microscopy as well as scanning and transmission electron microscopy is used to deal with questions concerning microstructure and analytical issues. For this purpose, a Zeiss Ultra 55 scanning electron microscope and a Philips Technai F30 transmission electron microscope is used besides various light microscopes. For phase and texture analysis, two Siemens D5000 and D5000TX X-ray diffractometers are used. Additionally, X-ray fluorescence analysis is can be provided at the institute.
Effective sample preparation is the basis for further microstructural work. For this purpose, a well-equipped metallographic laboratory is available. Samples for optical or scanning electron microscopy can be processed further by chemical, plasma or ion beam etching. There is also equipment for coating of insulator samples on-hand.
Special attention has to be paid to the preparation of samples for transmission electron microscopy. Here, it is necessary to produce samples exhibiting a few dozen of nanometres in thickness at the regions of interest. Besides the complete metallographic equipment, various methods of mechanic preparation (as sawing, dimpling and ultrasonic disc cutting) are available, as well as different instruments for ion beam etching (Gatan DuoMill and PIPS, Bal-Tec RES100).