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The SolarSurf Scanning Confocal Microscope
The optical 3D measurement system SolarSurf is designed for the measurement and analysis of surfaces. Our goal was to design – a high-precision surface analysis system at an attractive price. The SolarSurf Explorer is suitable for metrology and test laboratories as well as for use in production environments. The flexible and user-friendly measurement solution is and has been used successfully in numerous companies and industries. The confocal microscope comprises an LED light source, a rotating multi-pinhole disk, an objective lens with a piezo drive and a CCD camera.
The LED source is focused through the multi-pinhole disk and the objective lens on to the sample surface, which reflects the light. The reflected light is reduced by the pinhole of the disk to that part which is in focus, and this falls on the CCD camera.
An image from a conventional optical microscope contains sharp and blurred detail. In contrast, in the confocal image, the blurred detail (unfocused) is filtered out by the operation of the multi-pinhole-disk. Only light from the focal plane reaches the CCD camera. Thus the confocal microsocope is capable of high resolution in the nanometer range.
Each confocal image is a horizontal slice through the topography of the sample. Capturing the images at different focal heights produces a stack of such images, achieved by the confocal microscope through precise vertical displacement of the objective lens by means of a piezo drive. 200 to 400 confocal images are generally captured within a few seconds, after which the software reconstructs an exact three-dimensional height image from the stack of confocal images.
Considering the microscope objectives available today, the SolarSurf confocal microscope offers a very broad range of magnifications (from 5x to 200x) and numerical apertures (from 0.15 NA to 0.95 NA). Super long working distance objectives (from 20X to 100X SLWD) can also be used to measure high aspect ratio features, large steps and steeply sloping samples. SolarSurf has been designed as a modular system and many different configurations can be supplied, from the single sensor head for OEM applications to the most complete and sophisticated arrangement. The basic operative setup comprises the sensor head that is mounted on a standard breadboard. This configuration provides the user with all the highest resolution surface profiling. Measuring thin films and thick layers is also possible. The highest quality EPI, ELWO, SLWO, 01 and TI Olympus objectives can be selected, with magnifications from 2,5X to 150X, upgrading the hardware setup with a vibration-isolation system is strongly recommended.
The system can also be upgraded with manual or motor X-Y stages, which are very useful for handling the sample and positioning the features to be measured within the field of view. Using the X-Y motor stage option, the user can operate the SolarSurf as a fully automated coordinate measurement system. SolarSurf achieves sub-micrometer vertical resolution and calibration to traceable standards.
For more information on the SolarSurf system, please download our data sheet.