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Using crystal lattice distortion data for geological investigations: the Weighted Burgers Vector method
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  • John Wheeler,
  • Sandra Piazolo,
  • David John Prior,
  • Patrick W Trimby,
  • Jacob A Tielke
John Wheeler
University of Liverpool

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Sandra Piazolo
School of Earth and Environment, The University of Leeds
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David John Prior
University of Otago
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Patrick W Trimby
Oxford Instruments
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Jacob A Tielke
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
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Distorted crystals carry useful information on processes involved in their formation, deformation and growth. The distortions are accommodated by geometrically necessary dislocations, and therefore characterising those dislocations is an informative task, to assist in, for example, deducing the slip systems that produced the dislocations. Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) allows detailed quantification of distorted crystal orientations and we summarise here a method for extracting information on dislocations from such data. The Weighted Burgers Vector (WBV) method calculates a vector at each point on an EBSD map, or an average over a region. The vector is a weighted average of the Burgers vectors of dislocation lines intersecting the map surface. It is weighted towards dislocation lines at a high angle to the map but that can be accounted for in interpretation. The method is fast and does not involve specific assumptions about dislocation types. It can be used, with care, to analyse subgrain walls (sharp orientation changes) as well as gradational orientation changes within individual grains. We describe new and published examples of the use of the technique to illustrate its potential; case studies to date mainly use the WBV direction not the magnitude. EBSD orientation data have angular errors, and so does the WBV. We present an analysis of these angular errors, showing there is a trade-off between directional accuracy and area sampled. In summary the technique is fast, free from assumptions, and errors can be taken into account to allow testing of hypotheses about dislocation types.