Tutorial: Crystal orientations and EBSD - Or which way is up?

T. B. Britton, J. Jiang, Y. Guo, A. Vilalta-Clemente, D. Wallis, L. N. Hansen, A. Winkelmann, A. J. Wilkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) is an automated technique that can measure the orientation of crystals in a sample very rapidly. There are many sophisticated software packages that present measured data. Unfortunately, due to crystal symmetry and differences in the set-up of microscope and EBSD software, there may be accuracy issues when linking the crystal orientation to a particular microstructural feature. In this paper we outline a series of conventions used to describe crystal orientations and coordinate systems. These conventions have been used to successfully demonstrate that a consistent frame of reference is used in the sample, unit cell, pole figure and diffraction pattern frames of reference. We establish a coordinate system rooted in measurement of the diffraction pattern and subsequently link this to all other coordinate systems. A fundamental outcome of this analysis is to note that the beamshift coordinate system needs to be precisely defined for consistent 3D microstructure analysis. This is supported through a series of case studies examining particular features of the microscope settings and/or unambiguous crystallographic features. These case studies can be generated easily in most laboratories and represent an opportunity to demonstrate confidence in use of recorded orientation data. Finally, we include a simple software tool, written in both MATLAB® and Python, which the reader can use to compare consistency with their own microscope set-up and which may act as a springboard for further offline analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-126
Number of pages14
JournalMaterials Characterization
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank a range of funders that underpin this collaborative work: T.B. Britton has a fellowship from the Royal Academy of Engineering. J. Jiang is funded by AVIC BIAM. T.B. Britton and A.J. Wilkinson have project funding from EPSRC through the HexMat programme grant ( www.imperial.ac.uk/hexmat EP/K034332/1). DW, A.J. Wilkinson and L. Henson have project funding from NERC through NE/M000966/1. A.J. Wilkinson and A. Vilalta-Clemente have project funding from EPSRC through EP/J016098/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.


  • Crystal orientation
  • Electron backscatter diffraction
  • Electron microscopy
  • Texture


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