The microstructures of metal samples are generally determined by reflected-light microscopy. Available at DKI are a light microscope with up to 1,000 times magnification and a stereo microscope with up to 100 times magnification. Before examination, samples are ground, polished and etched when necessary.
Scanning Electron Microscopy:
Scanning electron microscopy is used for a more detailed structural analysis. This, when combined with EDX (energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopy), produces a high resolution picture that can determine the chemical composition of the sample, even to the individual phase.
While microscopy gives a two-dimensional look at the sample surface, computed tomography (CT) provides a three-dimensional image. Due to the high density of copper, a strong x-ray is needed to penetrate the material. Defects and irregularities can be identified and seen at a depth up to about 0.1 mm.