Effects of focused ion beam milling on electron backscatter diffraction patterns in strontium titanate and stabilized zirconia

Nath Saowadee, Karsten Agersted, Jacob R. Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study investigates the effect of focused ion beam (FIB) current and accelerating voltage on electron backscatter diffraction pattern quality of yttria‐stabilized zirconia (YSZ) and Nb‐doped strontium titanate (STN) to optimize data quality and acquisition time for 3D‐EBSD experiments by FIB serial sectioning. Band contrast and band slope were used to describe the pattern quality. The FIB probe currents investigated ranged from 100 to 5000 pA and the accelerating voltage was either 30 or 5 kV. The results show that 30 kV FIB milling induced a significant reduction of the pattern quality of STN samples compared to a mechanically polished surface but yielded a high pattern quality on YSZ. The difference between STN and YSZ pattern quality is thought to be caused by difference in the degree of ion damage as their backscatter coefficients and ion penetration depths are virtually identical. Reducing the FIB probe current from 5000to 100 pA improved the pattern quality by 20% for STN but only showed a marginal improvement for YSZ. On STN, a conductive coating can help to improve the pattern quality and 5 kV polishing can lead to a 100% improvement of the pattern quality relatively to 30 kV FIB milling. For 3D‐EBSD experiments of a material such as STN, it is recommended to combine a high kV FIB milling and low kV polishing for each slice in order to optimize the data quality and acquisition time.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)279-286
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Band contrast
  • Band slope
  • 3D-EBSD
  • FIB damage
  • Pattern quality
  • Solid oxide cells
  • Stabilized zirconia
  • Strontium titanate

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