Surface analysis is key to many QC/QA requirements in a range of industries. It can be used to inspect finished products, for R&D and for in-process inspection during production. Materials inspected include metals, composites, plastics, paper, painted surfaces and glass. Two-dimensional profilometry and interferometry are two widely used forms of surface analysis.

Two-dimensional profilometry, or contact profilometry, is a contact technique that measures a subject’s length or depth, usually at the micrometer or nanometer level. Two-dimensional profilometry typically is nondestructive and uses a diamond-tipped stylus that is drawn across the subject, measuring variations in surface topography. It can rapidly perform long linear scans and quantify high step heights. The technique is appropriate for applications such as measuring films and coatings.

Interferometry, or 3-D profilometry, is a noncontact method that uses light-typically laser light-to measure topography, with the ability to provide accuracy of ±3 nanometers in the Z-axis, and XY resolution as fine as 500 nanometers.

Interferometry is versatile and more efficient than point-to-point surface profiling techniques. Quality applications for interferometry include everything from the aerospace and medical device industries to factory floor applications in the automotive industry.

Two notable forms of interferometry used for industrial applications today are confocal microscopy and holographic interferometry. Confocal microscopy is a technique that increases micrograph contrast and also can reconstruct 3-D images. A confocal microscope eliminates out-of-focus information through the use of point illumination and a pinhole in an optically conjugate plane in front of a detector. Only the light within the focal plane can be detected, which results in high image quality.

This technique currently is used in the scientific and industrial communities. Typical applications are found in the semiconductor, optics, electronics, plastics and paper industries.

Holographic interferometry combines traditional holography with interferometry, allowing detection of material defects and inevitable fatigue failure, as well as the measurement of residual stress and vibration mode analysis. Modern holographic metrology equipment is more precise than conventional interferometry techniques because it overcomes the ambiguity interval, a problem inherent to conventional forms of interferometry. With a conventional interferometer, the range of measurement can be only one wavelength of light because it relies on the difference between the phases of the signals to compute distance. Therefore, if two points on a surface differ by exactly one wavelength of light, it cannot be determined whether they are the same height.

Holographic interferometry is used by metrology laboratories to analyze parts for product development, quality control and warranty studies. It also is used to inspect equipment during the launch of new production lines, as well as sample parts near a production line.

The Keyence VHX-600 digital microscope provides 3-D image composition and manipulation. Source: Keyence

Keyence( introduces the VHX-600 Digital Microscope. A 54-mega-pixel 3CCD and high-performance graphic engine provide 3-D image composition and manipulation; color topographic images with automatic X, Y and Z scaling, plus onscreen measurements without requiring an external computer; sophisticated illumination technologies; and a range of lens choices up to 5,000X magnification. Newly developed algorithms optimize illumination, image display and suppress glare. Online recording and networking provide additional benefits.
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Coherix provides holographic and optical-based measurement and inspection products to customers in the automotive, aerospace, medical supply and semiconductor industries. Source: Coherix

Coherix ( introduces the ShaPix and I-Cite optical-based inspection systems for measuring assembly line quality at high speeds and definition levels. The technology has the ability to scan the surface flatness of precision-machined automotive metal parts and provide pictorial information about surface variations down to a micron within seconds. The ShaPix system uses tunable-wavelength lasers to illuminate surface areas. Paired with optical equipment and software, ShaPix provides engineers with a 3-D picture of objects being checked. The system consists of two units-a sensor head and a workstation. The sensor head contains an interferometer and holds the parts or assemblies to be measured. The control station houses a computer, lasers, keyboard, mouse and a local-area network so that scanner results can be viewed locally or from a remote workstation.
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The MicroSpy Topo is a confocal microscope that offers powerful confocal microscopy with economy. Source: FRT GmbH

FRT ( announces the expansion of its budget-targeted class of measurement tools with the introduction of the MicroSpy Topo. The microscope offers confocal microscopy at the economy end of the company’s product range. It comes with a comprehensive software package for the measurement and evaluation of 3-D topography, structure and surface roughness.

The confocal microscope has been designed specifically for use in R&D and production. Because of its confocal measurement principle the microscope delivers results with high resolution - less than 1 nanometer - within seconds. This makes the instrument suited for manually operated surface analyses in such fields as optics, electronics, plastics and paper. The microscope is available with a variety of lenses and comes with a motorized X, Y-stage for easy sample positioning.
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The NMI system provides reliable and convenient measurement of nonmetallic inclusions in steel. Source: Carl Zeiss Inc.

Carl Zeiss Inc.( introduces a system for analyzing nonmetallic inclusions (NMI). The NMI system is based on the AxioImager.Z1m upright microscope or the Axio Observer.Z1m inverted microscope to provide reliable and convenient measurement of nonmetallic inclusions in steel.

The complete system fully supports the new EN 10247 European standard for determining the content of nonmetallic inclusions in steel, as well as previously existing standards, including DIN 50602, ASTM E 45, ISO 4967; JIS G 0555.

The system can be tailored for further image analysis applications such as grain size analysis and particle analysis. All the components of the microscope, ranging from the camera to the motorized stage, are controlled by Zeiss AxioVision software.

With the new NMI system, quality is determined through an automated process performed by repeatable mathematical calculations. The system also allows automatic objective analysis on up to six samples at a time using batch mode, and can output the results of a batch measurement either individually or combined.

The integrated NMI software offers the option of performing measurements on a large MosaiX image, a composite of many individual tile images. This feature addresses the inaccurate classifications that occur when inclusions cut off at the image edge are not recorded in their entirety during independent individual tile analysis.
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B&H Machine Co. announces the public availability of several models of noncontact profilometers. Source: B&H Machine Co.

B&H Machine Co. ([email protected]) announces the public availability of several models of noncontact profilometers.

The company integrates noncontact sensors with mechanical PC-controlled motion systems. They specialize in high-accuracy models with typical resolutions of 0.125 microns in the X and Y directions, with Z resolutions of 0.01 micron. These are fully automated systems that allow end users to create topographical surface maps of virtually any substrate, without expensive substrate preparation or contacting or altering the sample being tested. Typical samples are 8 inches by 8 inches, with over 6.5 million data points being generated in less than 45 minutes. Systems come with PC-controlled motion tables and analysis software for linking surface parameters to customers’ critical quality control measurements and product performance. Laser triangulation, confocal and white light CLA sensors are typically integrated into profiling systems. Stage sizes and configurations include: rotary stages, XY tables with axis lengths from 2 inches to 60 inches per axis, motorized Z stages, and vertical or horizontal stages and fixturing.
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The Talyrond 385 is for high-precision roundness measurement of submicron components that requires spindle accuracies down to the nanometer level. Source: Taylor Hobson Precision

Taylor Hobson Precision( introduces the Talyrond 385 for high-precision roundness measurement of submicron components that requires spindle accuracies down to the nanometer level. The system has a diamond-turned, air-bearing spindle and fully automatic operation, which speeds the inspection process and eliminates operator intervention errors.

The system’s nano-metric roundness accuracy is ensured by a high-precision glass hemisphere that has a roundness deviation less than or equal to 10 nanometers and individual slope values of less than 2 nanometers/7.2 degrees. This calibration artifact is used to monitor and verify that spindle performance is within specification.

The system includes a Talymin 5 gage head, which offers resolution to 1.2 nanometers, making it suited for high-precision components. Interchangeable probe arms are available for all applications, including small inside diameters and stepped surfaces. The mechanical integrity of its crutch and pivot mechanism eliminates drift during the measurement cycle and assures stability of contact between the gage and component.

To isolate measurements from floor-borne vibration and environmental influences, the system includes an integrated enclosure and dynamic anti-vibration mounts located between its support frame and cast iron base. The spindle, vertical column and horizontal arm are all anchored to the one-piece cast iron base. That stability, along with 0.2-micrometer vertical axis straightness and 0.1-micrometer positioning resolution, make the instrument suited for high-accuracy applications.
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The JAMP-9500F Field Emission Auger Microprobe identifies defects in interfaces and analyzes coatings and composites. Source: Jeol USA Inc.

Jeol USA Inc. ( introduces the JAMP-9500F Field Emission Auger Microprobe. The instrument identifies defects in interfaces and analyzes coatings and composites through high-spatial resolution surface analysis of micro areas. A low-aberration condenser lens, which superimposes an electrostatic field and a magnetic field, combined with a patented in-lens Schottky field emission gun, allows the instrument to obtain very small spot sizes with beam currents up to 500 nanoamperes. Minimum probe diameter is 3 nanometers for secondary electron image (SEI) and 8 nanometers for Auger analysis. A neutralizing ion gun and tilting specimen stage enable analysis of insulating materials and thin films without charge up. The specimen stage accommodates samples up to 95 millimeters in diameter. The microprobe also can perform line profile analysis and depth profile analysis in combination with ion etching. An electrostatic hemispherical analyzer (HSA) with a multi-channel detector is optimized for Auger analysis. The HSA offers high-energy resolution analysis with high sensitivity, demonstrating its full effectiveness in chemical state analysis. The JAMP-9500F also offers the flexibility of optional analysis functions such as EDS, SIMS and XPS.
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The NewView 7000-Series is based on proprietary scanning technology, delivering high precision, resolution, linearity and speed. Source: Zygo Corp.

Zygo Corp.( introduces the NewView 7000-Series, its next generation of 3-D optical profilers. The instruments are intended for leading research, process development and production control in the optics, automotive, semiconductor, MEMS, photovoltaic, materials science, medical and data storage industries.

Available in two platforms, the NewView 7300 and 7200 are based on proprietary scanning technology, delivering high precision, resolution, linearity and speed. Additionally, a range of surfaces can be measured at high speed-including smooth and rough, and steps and films-with sub-nanometer resolution and precision. The versatility of the NewView 7000–Series accommodates a broad range of applications.

The series incorporates a line of automated positioning stages, enabling programmable measurement routines and precise stitching of large areas. The series is suited to measure rough surfaces, high slopes, films and high-aspect ratio features. The platform includes a range of imaging objectives from 1X to 100X. All platforms are powered by the company’s MetroPro software, which provides a suite of data analysis, automation tools and flexible scripting language.
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µsurf surface analysis software, based upon Digital Surf’s Mountains Version 5 technology, has been integrated into the NanoFocus µsurf 3-D topometers and µscan profilometers. Source: Digital Surf

NanoFocus( andDigital Surf ( announce that µsurf surface analysis software, based upon Digital Surf’s Mountains Version 5 technology, has been integrated into the NanoFocus µsurf 3-D topometers and µscan profilometers. The µsurf 3-D topometer from NanoFocus is for use in laboratories that measure and test 3-D technical surfaces with micro- and nano-dimensional structures. Measurement data is available in a few seconds for analysis by the integrated µsurf analysis software, based on Digital Surf’s Mountains technology. Stand-alone and network versions of the software are available on three levels to meet different user requirements.

NanoFocus µsurf technology is based on optical filtering carried out by a confocal spatial filter. The µsurf 3-D topometer uses a confocal imaging technique to capture 3-D images of surface topography in a quick measurement operation. Equipped with a computer-controlled objective lens drive, the µsurf generates height sections at different working distances. Only components of reflected light that are in focus are captured by the CCD camera sensor. Out of focus components are blocked by special multi-pinhole filters. The height sections are stored consecutively in an image stack and a special software algorithm calculates the 3-D topography.

The µsurf analysis software is continuously updated to include the latest industry standards and methods. A range of 2-D and 3-D parameters and filtering techniques are available, including 3-D parameters defined in the new ISO 25178 standard, the first international standard on areal surface texture, and advanced filtering techniques defined in the ISO 16610 standard.
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The Wyko NT9100 Optical Profiling System delivers the performance and many of the capabilities of the company’s full-sized profiling systems in a less expensive tabletop footprint. Source: Veeco Instruments Inc.

Veeco Instruments Inc.( introduces the Wyko NT9100 Optical Profiling System, which delivers the performance and many of the capabilities of the company’s full-sized profiling systems in a less expensive tabletop footprint. The system has many applications in research, quality control and failure analysis. It can be used in the optics, aerospace, automotive and biomedical devices markets for measuring coatings, film thickness, and surface topography and shape. Key features include sub-nanometer vertical resolution; hands-free measurement automation for focus, tilt, magnification, intensity and scan length; a fully programmable 150-millimeter XY stage; and ultra-uniform illumination.

Running on the Vision software platform, the system provides access to more than 200 distinct analyses, and more than 1,000 critical parameters for process control and monitoring. It also allows user-written analyses and integration with user-supplied hardware to provide a platform for custom research and emerging technologies.
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The SJ-201P series for surface roughness measurement provides portability, multi-functionality and ease of operation. Source: Mitutoyo America Corp.

Mitutoyo America Corp. ( introduces the SJ-201P series for surface roughness measurement. The device provides portability with a compact design, multi-functionality and ease of operation. It can be powered with an AC adapter or through the rechargeable built-in battery. An auto-sleep function shuts down the device to preserve battery life. With 19 roughness parameters, the device is compatible with the latest ISO, DIN and ANSI standards, as well as JIS standards (1994/1982). The device can be programmed to suppress parameters that are not needed and will hold the last 10 measurements in memory even after the device is turned off.

The detector/drive unit can be detached from the display unit for measurement in any orientation. The large LCD window displays evaluation results. Digimatic and RS-232C interfaces enable measurement data transfer to a computer or other devices, such as the optional compact battery powered SJ-printer.
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