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Modern Metallography by R. E. Smallman, K. H. G. Ashbee, W. S. Owen, D. W. Hopkins

By R. E. Smallman, K. H. G. Ashbee, W. S. Owen, D. W. Hopkins and H. M. Finniston (Auth.)

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This optical artefact prevents really accurate measurements of surface features showing variations in step heights and consequently, although steps as small as 5 A high are easily visible, the exact magnitude of the heights cannot be deduced. A development in phase contrast microscopy is the interference contrast technique described by Françon and Nomanski. The main feature of this development is that polarized light is used to increase the sensitivity to extremely small variations in the height of the surface under examination.

Phase contrast microscope. SURFACE TOPOGRAPHY 37 occurs from small surface reliefs and phase contrast provides an excellent technique for examining such features. Using a normal microscope, the difference between the diffracted and direct rays is not observed because the eye responds not to variations in phase but to variations in intensity. The function of the phase contrast microscope is to change differences in phase into intensity variations so that they can be detected by the eye. Figure 24 shows a schematic arrangement of a phase contrast microscope.

This latter situation is called the "crossed polars" position. To adapt a normal microscope for use with polarized light, two sheets of polaroid are inserted, one between the light source and the objective, and the other between the objective and the eyepiece. These two sheets of polaroid are called the polarizer and analyser respectively. Referring to Fig. 34, which is a schematic illustration of the polarizing microscope, 53 54 MODERN METALLOGRAPHY (σ) (b) (c) FIG. 33. Vibrations in (a) ordinary and (b) plane polarized light.

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