In the semiconductor industry, wafer handling introduces micro-cracks at the wafer edge and the causal relationship of these cracks to wafer breakage is a difficult task. By way of understanding the wafer breakage process, a series of nano-indents were introduced both into 20 20 mm (100) wafer pieces and into whole wafers as a means of introducing controlled strain. Visualization of the three-dimensional structure of crystal defects has been demonstrated. The silicon samples were then treated by various thermal anneal processes to initiate the formation of dislocation loops around the indents. This article reports the three-dimensional X-ray diffraction imaging and visualization of the structure of these dislocations. A series of X-ray section topographs of both the indents and the dislocation loops were taken at the ANKA Synchrotron, Karlsruhe, Germany. The topographs were recorded on a CCD system combined with a high-resolution scintillator crystal and were measured by repeated cycles of exposure and sample translation along a direction perpendicular to the beam. The resulting images were then rendered into three dimensions utilizing open-source three-dimensional medical tomography algorithms that show the dislocation loops formed. Furthermore this technique allows for the production of a video (avi) file showing the rotation of the rendered topographs around any defined axis. The software also has the capability of splitting the image along a segmentation line and viewing the internal structure of the strain fields. © 2011 International Union of Crystallography Printed in Singapore - all rights reserved.