Towards an integrated materials characterization toolbox

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2011

  • Author: Robertson, Ian M.

    University of Illinois, United States

  • Author: Schuh, Christopher A.

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Author: Vetrano, John S.

    U.S. Department of Energy, United States

  • Author: Browning, Nigel D.

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

  • Author: Field, David P.

    Washington State University, United States

  • Author: Juul Jensen, Dorte

    Materials Research Division. Management, Materials Research Division, Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, Technical University of Denmark, Fredriksborgvej 399, 4000, Roskilde, Denmark

  • Author: Miller, Michael K.

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Author: Baker, Ian

    Dartmouth College

  • Author: Dunand, David C.

    Northwestern University, United States

  • Author: Dunin-Borkowski, Rafal E.

    Center for Electron Nanoscopy, Technical University of Denmark

  • Author: Kabius, Bernd

    Argonne National Laboratory

  • Author: Kelly, Tom

    Cameca Instruments Corporation

  • Author: Lozano-Perez, Sergio

    University of Oxford

  • Author: Misra, Amit

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Author: Rohrer, Gregory S.

    Carnegie Mellon University

  • Author: Rollett, Anthony D.

    Carnegie Mellon University

  • Author: Taheri, Mitra L.

    Drexel University

  • Author: Thompson, Greg B.

    University of Alabama, United States

  • Author: Uchic, Michael

    Wright-Patterson Air Force Base

  • Author: Wang, Xun-Li

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Author: Was, Gary

    University of Michigan

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The material characterization toolbox has recently experienced a number of parallel revolutionary advances, foreshadowing a time in the near future when material scientists can quantify material structure evolution across spatial and temporal space simultaneously. This will provide insight to reaction dynamics in four-dimensions, spanning multiple orders of magnitude in both temporal and spatial space. This study presents the authors' viewpoint on the material characterization field, reviewing its recent past, evaluating its present capabilities, and proposing directions for its future development. Electron microscopy; atom probe tomography; x-ray, neutron and electron tomography; serial sectioning tomography; and diffraction-based analysis methods are reviewed, and opportunities for their future development are highlighted. Advances in surface probe microscopy have been reviewed recently and, therefore, are not included [D.A. Bonnell et al.: Rev. Modern Phys. in Review]. In this study particular attention is paid to studies that have pioneered the synergetic use of multiple techniques to provide complementary views of a single structure or process; several of these studies represent the state-of-the-art in characterization and suggest a trajectory for the continued development of the field. Based on this review, a set of grand challenges for characterization science is identified, including suggestions for instrumentation advances, scientific problems in microstructure analysis, and complex structure evolution problems involving material damage. The future of microstructural characterization is proposed to be one not only where individual techniques are pushed to their limits, but where the community devises strategies of technique synergy to address complex multiscale problems in materials science and engineering.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1341-1383
StatePublished - 2011
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 43


  • Materials characterisation and modelling
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