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This article reviews the main theoretical and practical aspects of sequence normally followed in digital image-acquisition, processing, analysis, and output for material characterization. It discusses the main methods of digital imaging, image processing, and analysis, as applied to microscopy of materials. The article describes the basic concepts of sampling and resolution and quantization of light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. It discusses the acquisition of a digital image that accurately represents the sample under observation and output of the image to a printer. The methods used to enhance the digital image and to extract quantitative information are also described. Different types of image segmentation, namely, adaptive segmentation and contour-based segmentation, are reviewed. The article also presents case studies on the application of image processing and analysis to materials characterization.

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