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Optimizing Electron Backscatter Diffraction of Carbonate Biominerals—Resin Type and Carbon Coating

  • Alberto Pérez-Huerta (a1) and Maggie Cusack (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2009

Electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) is becoming a widely used technique to determine crystallographic orientation in biogenic carbonates. Despite this use, there is little information available on preparation for the analysis of biogenic carbonates. EBSD data are compared for biogenic aragonite and calcite in the common blue mussel, Mytilus edulis, using different types of resin and thicknesses of carbon coating. Results indicate that carbonate biomineral samples provide better EBSD results if they are embedded in resin, particularly epoxy resin. A uniform layer of carbon of 2.5 nm thickness provides sufficient conductivity for EBSD analyses of such insulators to avoid charging without masking the diffracted signal. Diffraction intensity decreases with carbon coating thickness of 5 nm or more. This study demonstrates the importance of optimizing sample preparation for EBSD analyses of insulators such as carbonate biominerals.

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M. Cusack , Y. Dauphin , P. Chung , A. Pérez-Huerta & J-P. Cuif (2008a). Multiscale structure of calcite fibres of the shell of the brachiopod Terebratulina retusa. J Struct Biol 164, 94100.

P. Dalbeck & M. Cusack (2006). Crystallography (electron backscatter diffraction) and chemistry (electron probe microanalysis) of the avian eggshell. Crys Growth Des 6, 25582562.

P. Dalbeck , J. England , M. Cusack , M.R. Lee & A.E. Fallick (2006). Crystallography and chemistry of the calcium carbonate polymorph switch in M. edulis shells. Eur J Min 18, 601609.

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Microscopy and Microanalysis
  • ISSN: 1431-9276
  • EISSN: 1435-8115
  • URL: /core/journals/microscopy-and-microanalysis
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