PerspectiveMaterials Science

Microstructures in 4D

Science  09 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5681, pp. 190-191
DOI: 10.1126/science.1100682

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Detailed understanding of materials behavior will only be possible if microstructural changes can be followed in space and time. In his Perspective, Offerman discusses results reported in the same issue by Schmidt et al. in which an x-ray microscope at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, capable of high resolution three-dimensional imaging, has been modified to resolve microstructural changes over time. This 4D x-ray diffraction microscope has been used to observe a recrystallizing grain deep within a bulk sample of aluminum, a feat that should lead to knowledge of how to synthesize materials with improved properties.