• rocking curve imaging (RCI);
  • 3D-RCI;
  • ice crystals;
  • crystal distortion;
  • crystal defects

Rocking curve imaging (RCI) is a quantitative version of monochromatic beam diffraction topography that involves using a two-dimensional detector, each pixel of which records its own `local' rocking curve. From these local rocking curves one can reconstruct maps of particularly relevant quantities (e.g. integrated intensity, angular position of the centre of gravity, FWHM). Up to now RCI images have been exploited in the reflection case, giving a quantitative picture of the features present in a several-micrometre-thick subsurface layer. Recently, a three-dimensional Bragg diffraction imaging technique, which combines RCI with `pinhole' and `section' diffraction topography in the transmission case, was implemented. It allows three-dimensional images of defects to be obtained and measurement of three-dimensional distortions within a 50 × 50 × 50 µm elementary volume inside the crystal with angular misorientations down to 10−5–10−6 rad. In the present paper, this three-dimensional-RCI (3D-RCI) technique is used to study one of the grains of a three-grained ice polycrystal. The inception of the deformation process is followed by reconstructing virtual slices in the crystal bulk. 3D-RCI capabilities allow the effective distortion in the bulk of the crystal to be investigated, and the predictions of diffraction theories to be checked, well beyond what has been possible up to now.