Interpreting the True Structure of Objects

Dr. Patrick Camus, Director of Research and Innovation, EDAX

It is well known that the physical properties of objects depend highly on their 3D structure. Recording and displaying the 3D structure is a fairly recent phenomenon. In the past, most analyses were limited by recordings using film or only the surface of the object. The advent of modern technology and computing power has made 3D rendering more widespread. A number of modern techniques can acquire numerous image slices which can be rendered via software into 3D images. These can then be manipulated in time and space for a more accurate interpretation in a shorter time than could be obtained by viewing the series of slices.

A familiar example is that of a CAT scan of a human head. A series of X-ray slice images are acquired showing the density within the skull. A range of image intensities can be extracted into outlines. These outlines can then be viewed on a computer screen. However, they are difficult to interpret because they are still only a series of outlines. The real power for interpretation occurs when triangulation or surfaces are used to connect the outlines into meaningful 3D renderings.

Similar sectioning ideas have been applied to electron-beam microanalysis techniques. But the benefits to the analysts really become evident when the software contains features to aid in both the image and compositional interpretation of the objects.

Sign up for a webinar “3D EDS: Visualizing the true structure of materials”, presented by Materials Today and EDAX Inc. on Wednesday, July 30th at 11:00am EST to see the latest developments in 3D EDS microanalysis.

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