Characterization (materials science)
Characterization, when used in materials science
Materials science
Materials science is an interdisciplinary field applying the properties of matter to various areas of science and engineering. This scientific field investigates the relationship between the structure of materials at atomic or molecular scales and their macroscopic properties. It incorporates...

, refers to the use of external techniques to probe into the internal structure and properties of a material. Characterization can take the form of actual materials testing, or analysis, for example in some form of microscope
A microscope is an instrument used to see objects that are too small for the naked eye. The science of investigating small objects using such an instrument is called microscopy...


Analysis techniques are used simply to magnify the specimen, to visualize its internal structure, and to gain knowledge as to the distribution of elements within the specimen and their interactions.

Magnification and internal visualization are normally done in a type of microscope, such as:
  • Optical Microscope
    A microscope is an instrument used to see objects that are too small for the naked eye. The science of investigating small objects using such an instrument is called microscopy...

  • Scanning Electron Microscope
    Scanning electron microscope
    A scanning electron microscope is a type of electron microscope that images a sample by scanning it with a high-energy beam of electrons in a raster scan pattern...

  • Transmission Electron Microscope
    Transmission electron microscopy
    Transmission electron microscopy is a microscopy technique whereby a beam of electrons is transmitted through an ultra thin specimen, interacting with the specimen as it passes through...

  • Field Ion Microscope
    Field ion microscope
    Field ion microscopy is an analytical technique used in materials science. The field ion microscope is a type of microscope that can be used to image the arrangement of atoms at the surface of a sharp metal tip....

  • Scanning Tunneling Microscope
    Scanning tunneling microscope
    A scanning tunneling microscope is an instrument for imaging surfaces at the atomic level. Its development in 1981 earned its inventors, Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer , the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. For an STM, good resolution is considered to be 0.1 nm lateral resolution and...

  • Atomic Force Microscope
    Atomic force microscope
    Atomic force microscopy or scanning force microscopy is a very high-resolution type of scanning probe microscopy, with demonstrated resolution on the order of fractions of a nanometer, more than 1000 times better than the optical diffraction limit...

  • X-ray diffraction topography
    Diffraction topography
    Diffraction topography is an X-ray imaging technique based on Bragg diffraction.Diffraction topographic images record the intensity profile of a beam of X-rays diffracted by a crystal....


Elemental analysis of the specimen can also be done in a number of ways:
  • Energy-Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy
    Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy
    Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy is an analytical technique used for the elemental analysis or chemical characterization of a sample. It relies on the investigation of an interaction of a some source of X-ray excitation and a sample...

  • Wavelength Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy
    Wavelength dispersive X-ray spectroscopy
    The Wavelength dispersive X-ray spectroscopy is a method used to count the number of X-rays of a specific wavelength diffracted by a crystal. The wavelength of the impinging x-ray and the crystal's lattice spacings are related by Bragg's law and produce constructive interference if they fit the...

  • Mass spectrometry
    Mass spectrometry
    Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique that measures the mass-to-charge ratio of charged particles.It is used for determining masses of particles, for determining the elemental composition of a sample or molecule, and for elucidating the chemical structures of molecules, such as peptides and...

  • Impulse excitation technique
    Impulse excitation technique
    -Practical:The impulse excitation technique is a nondestructive test method that uses natural frequency, dimensions and mass of a test-piece to determine Young's modulus, Shear modulus, Poisson's ratio and damping coefficient....

  • Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry
    Secondary ion mass spectrometry
    Secondary ion mass spectrometry is a technique used in materials science and surface science to analyze the composition of solid surfaces and thin films by sputtering the surface of the specimen with a focused primary ion beam and collecting and analyzing ejected secondary ions...

  • Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy
    Electron energy loss spectroscopy
    In electron energy loss spectroscopy a material is exposed to a beam of electrons with a known, narrow range of kinetic energies. Some of the electrons will undergo inelastic scattering, which means that they lose energy and have their paths slightly and randomly deflected...

  • Auger electron spectroscopy
    Auger electron spectroscopy
    Auger electron spectroscopy is a common analytical technique used specifically in the study of surfaces and, more generally, in the area of materials science...

  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
    X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
    X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy is a quantitative spectroscopic technique that measures the elemental composition, empirical formula, chemical state and electronic state of the elements that exist within a material...

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