Mechanical & Materials Engineering

RMTL Characterisation Laboratory


RMTL facilitates the use of a range of new equipment to prepare, analyze, and image materials. Equipment available for booking by Queen's students and staff are listed below.

Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) - The latest microscopy technology, FEI FEG-Nova NanoSem, is used to generate images of surface topography and determine chemical composition at very high resolutions. Capabilities include EBSD, EDX, and in situ heating and straining. Below are examples.

Quenched sample

Image 1: EBSD phase map of a sample of Excel alloy, a Zirconium alloy which is a proposed structural material for Gen-IV nuclear reactors. The alloy contains an HCP alpha phase (red) and a BCC beta phase (blue). This map was taken after a heat treatment and quench that were performed in an attempt to maximize the amount of beta phase present.

Zircaloy sample

Image 2: EBSD orientation map of a tensile sample of Zircaloy-2, a Zirconium alloy used in nuclear reactors. Grains are coloured to show orientation, so that similarly coloured grains have similarly oriented crystal lattices. This sample was deformed in tension to ~5% strain before mapping, resulting in several twins being visible.

These videos below show an EDX-tomography map of a 316 stainless steel containing yttria based oxide particles. The three maps show the location of Y, Ti and O respectively. ODS steels are excellent high temperature materials and have potential in Generation-IV reactors.


Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) - Passes electrons through a thin sample to examine fine details at extremely high resolutions (down to an atomic scale).  TEM samples must be prepared down to less than 100 nanometers thick.  The FEI Osiris FEG-TEM includes the following features: STEM, EDS, EELS, and in situ heating & straining.


If you would like more information about this research effort, please download this information sheet, or contact Rick Holt or Mark Daymond.