Image segmentation and analysis for densification mapping of nanoporous gold after nanoindentation


Segmentation of scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of focused ion beam (FIB) cross-sections through indented regions in nanoporous gold (np-Au) is carried out. A key challenge for image analysis of open porous materials is the appropriate binarization of the pore and gold ligament regions while excluding material lying below the cross-sectional plane. Here, a manual approach to thresholding is compared to global and local approaches. The global thresholding resulted in excessive deviations from the nominal solid fraction, due to a strong gray-scale gradient caused by the tilt angle during imaging and material shadowing. In contrast, the local thresholding approach delivered local solid fractions that were free of global gradients, and delivered a quality comparable to the manual segmentation. The extracted densification profiles vertically below the indenter as well as parallel to the surface showed an exponential-type decay from the indenter tip towards the nominal value of 1 far from the indenter.
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