Ultramicrotomy is widely regarded as a thin section preparation method for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) investigations. It is shown that ultramicrotomy can also provide a simple path for microstructure analysis and assessment of mechanical properties for a sectioned block-face. Furthermore, electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) analysis can be applied directly on ultramicrotomed surfaces without any additional polishing or etching. EBSD analysis relates the inherent cutting artefacts to the crystallographic orientations of the grains, hence delivering a rough assessment of their deformation resistance. TEM investigations revealed that crystallographic-related cutting artefacts, which exhibit a wave-like pattern, are the result of the dislocation pile-ups close to the knife-specimen interface. This technique is considered suitable to be coupled with EBSD for three-dimensional microstructure reconstructions when used for serial sectioning of large volumes.
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