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Reconstruction of 3D grain boundaries from rock thin sections, using an advanced polarised-light microscopy method

Journal article
Authors D. M. Hammes
Mark Peternell
Published in Journal of Microscopy
Volume 269
Issue 1
Pages 23-35
ISSN 0022-2720
Publication year 2018
Published at
Pages 23-35
Language en
Keywords 3D model, Crystallographic orientation, fabric analyser, grain boundaries, polarising light microscopy, retardation
Subject categories Geology


© 2017 The Authors Journal of Microscopy © 2017 Royal Microscopical Society Grain boundaries play a significant role in materials by initiating reactions and collecting impurities. Here we present FAGO (Fabric Analyser Grain boundary recOnstruction), a first step towards the automatic determination of three-dimensional (3D) grain boundary geometry using polarised light. The trace of the grain boundaries from 2D rock thin sections are determined primarily from data acquired using an automatic fabric analyser microscope and the FAME software (fabric analyser-based microstructure evaluation; Peternell and colleagues and Hammes and Peternell). Based on the Fabric Analyser G50's unique arrangement of nine differently oriented light sources the retardation can be determined independently for each light direction and at each pixel in the field of view. FAGO combines these retardation datasets for each individual pixel together with retardation profiles across grain boundaries, to determine the orientations of the boundaries. The grain boundary traces are then broken up into segments of equal orientation, using the profile-obtained orientation data. Finally, a 3D grain boundary model is reconstructed. The data processing is almost fully automatic using the MATLAB® environment. Only minor manual inputs are required.

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