Rapid Non-contact 3-D Measurements
Contact-type measurement systems are often
used to acquire accurate
However, multiple adjustments, such as probe
and sample placements,
must be set prior to the
and the user is left with a
single data line for future
evaluation. Keyence Corp.
conceived its VR-3000 Series One-shot 3D Measurement Macroscope as a way
to reduce this time investment: It achieves height information data capture in
just 5 sec on parts up to 10 mm and has a measurement repeatability of 0.5 µm.
This is a first in non-contact 3-D inspection and measurement.
High performance is obtained by combining three double-telecentric lenses
with the Keyence-developed Telecentric Multi-Triangulation (TMT) algorithm
and the industry’s largest 4-MP CMOS light receiving element. Structured light
bands from the transmitter lens are scattered across the sample surface. When
the reflected light is observed from another angle through the receiver lens,
height differences on the surface make the bands of light appear distorted. An
image of these distortions is captured using the CMOS sensor, and triangulation calculations are performed by TMT to measure the height and position
across the entire target surface.
◗ Keyence Corp., www.keyence.com
Nanoscale Measuring, Without Harm
From magnetic devices for tera-bit-class hard drives to the study
of living cells, a growing need
for the nondestructive nanoscale
measurement of physical properties and surface structures has
driven the rapid development
of new innovations in scanning
probe microscopy, which can
handle certain types of samples that challenge atomic force
microscopy (AFM) or scanning
electron microscopy (SEM).
Engineers at Hitachi Ltd.’s
Yokohama Research Laboratory have achieved a spatial resolution of 3 nm and
imaging repeatability of 0.5 nm in the new Plasmon Excitation Optical Scanning
Probe Microscope (Optical SPM), which allows users to obtain difficult nondestructive measurements of nanoscale devices. These include strain layer properties
of high-electron-mobility transistors and the critical dimension of heat-sink magnetic recording devices, which have a highly polished surface easily damaged by
static electricity introduced by SEM studies.
The microscope uses a near field coupling carbon nanotube (CNT) optical
probe to achieve high resolution and a plasmon waveguide to efficiently guide
incident light to the ultra-fine CNT optical probe. This technology visualizes the
nanoscale interaction between light and matter in the field of nanotechnology for
nanoscale electronic devices as well as molecular level biology for living cells.
◗ Yokohama Research Laboratory, Hitachi Ltd.
Beating the Diffraction Limit
emerged as a leading subcellular
over the past
into full view for
Microsystems has been a development leader in this segment of microscopy, and
one of its newest products, the TCS SP8 STED 3X, brings a new element to imaging capabilities. Unlike prior systems, which restrict optical resolution improvements to the lateral direction only, the new system extends improvements into the
axial direction, making true 3-D super-resolution possible for the first time.
Based on the concept of stimulated emission depletion technology (STED)
developed by Stefan Hell at Max Planck Institute, the TCS SP8 STED 3X uses
superimposed lasers to reduce the effective focal spot scanning the specimen to
an area smaller than the diffraction limit. For best resolution in x and y the light
is allocated to the STED pathway, which creates the established STED “
donut”-shaped laser spot by a vortex phase mask. The resulting effective focal volume is
rod-shaped. A second light path with a different phase mask forms a z “donut”,
yielding resolution increases mainly in z but also in x and y. With a newly available 775-nm STED laser, Leica’s 3X achieves a resolution below 30 nm.
◗ Leica Microsystems, www.leica-microsystems.com
Indentation Tool for Biomedicine
The lack of an instrument capable of characterizing the mechanical properties of soft biological
samples has long been an issue for biologists. Most
mechanical property probing instruments have
been originally designed for hard samples like metals and ceramics. Analytical models used to extract
quantitative data such as hardness and modulus
from these instruments had also been specifically
developed for hard samples, and attempts by biomedical researchers to use them for soft samples
would often yield inaccurate results.
Hysitron Inc. developed a nano- to
microscale biomechanical test instrument with
load noise floor of less than 30 nN that fills this
gap by uniting indentation tools with an opti-
cally configured microscope. The instrument
combines powerful optical imaging with in-situ
mechanical characterization and high-resolution
scanning probe imaging to allow researchers to
directly correlate optical characterization with mechanical properties of bio-
logical samples. A combination scanner and nanoscale force and displacement
sensing transducer replaces a single optical objective on the microscope turret.
The nanomechanical objective is capable of in-situ scanning probe microscopy
(SPM), mechanical property mapping and site-specific mechanical proper-
ty measurement. It also incorporates a high level of automation for testing,
and transmitted light methods such as differential interference contrast, long
off-limits to biomedical research, are now possible.
◗ Hysitron Inc., www.hysitron.com