Investigation of geometrically necessary dislocation structures in compressed Cu micropillars by 3-dimensional HR-EBSD

Szilvia Kalácska, Zoltán Dankházi, Gyula Zilahi, Xavier Maeder, Johann Michler, Péter Dusán Ispánovity, István Groma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Mechanical testing of micropillars is a field that involves new physics, as the behaviour of materials is non-deterministic at this scale. To better understand their deformation mechanisms we applied 3-dimensional high angular resolution electron backscatter diffraction (3D HR-EBSD) to reveal the dislocation distribution in deformed single crystal copper micropillars. Identical micropillars (6 μm ×6μm ×18 μm in size) were fabricated by focused ion beam (FIB) and compressed at room temperature. The deformation process was stopped at different strain levels (≈ 1%, 4% and 10%) to study the evolution of geometrically necessary dislocations (GNDs). Serial slicing with FIB and consecutive HR-EBSD mapping on the (100) side was used to create and compare 3-dimensional maps of the deformed volumes. Average GND densities were calculated for each deformation step. Total dislocation density calculation based on X-ray synchrotron measurements were conducted on the 4% pillar to compare dislocation densities determined by the two complementary methods. Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images were captured on the 10% pillar to visualize the actual dislocation structure. With the 3D HR-EBSD technique we have studied the geometrically necessary dislocations evolving during the deformation of micropillars. An intermediate behaviour was found at the studied sample size between bulk and nanoscale plasticity: A well-developed dislocation cell structure built up upon deformation but with significantly lower GND density than in bulk. This explains the simultaneous observation of strain hardening and size effect at this scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138499
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering A
Publication statusPublished - Jan 7 2020


  • Characterization
  • Electron microscopy
  • Micromechanics
  • Plasticity
  • Stress/strain measurements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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