Three-dimensional optical microscopy of water trees in polyethylene

D. M. Shinozaki, P. C. Cheng, S. Haridoss, Joseph Ross Mitchell, A. Fenster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Polyethylene is used as high-voltage electrical insulation in cable, and fails when subjected to the combination of water environment and electrical field. The three-dimensional microstructure of water trees, which are precursors to dielectric breakdown, has been revealed with laser scanning confocal optical microscopy. Two-dimensional images which represented optical serial sections were recorded in digital form, and reconstructed in a computer to produce three-dimensional views of the microstructure. Both stereo pairs and computed tomographic reconstructions were made. The material was stained with a fluorescent dye and the fluorescent image was compared to the standard unstained image. The dye was found to increase the signal-to-noise ratio and improve the quality of the image significantly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6151-6160
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Materials Science
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 1991
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Materials Science(all)

Cite this

Shinozaki, D. M., Cheng, P. C., Haridoss, S., Mitchell, J. R., & Fenster, A. (1991). Three-dimensional optical microscopy of water trees in polyethylene. Journal of Materials Science, 26(22), 6151-6160.