Microelectronics is one of the most important industries of our high-tech world. More and more products are equipped with computer technology. Used mainly in computers only a few years ago, processors can today be found in medical systems, watches, glasses, smart textiles, vehicles, and in building automation systems. The entertainment and communication technology is booming in our interconnected world. Meanwhile, microelectronics have arrived at the nanoscale, the components being so tiny that a processor fits into the size of a pinhead. This places high demands on production.
Fraunhofer IOSB has long been concerned with automated image analysis for quality assurance in production, and especially with the inspection of surfaces. The idea was born of transferring this knowledge to the world of microscope imaging. A demonstration and test environment was developed for fully automated inspection with various microscopes, which were combined using established automation components. In MicroLab a range of optical microscopes are available as examples. Currently they include a macroscope with flexible lighting options, a white-light/confocal microscope, a research microscope, and a 3D-reconstructing autofocus system.
Robot as operator
The microscopes are operated by a standard six-axis industrial robot, which places the samples under the microscopes precisely in a defined position. Project manager Peter Frühberger explains: “The robot is connected to a central control unit, which can access additional sensors. The inspection system therefore remains informed about the current process and can intelligently steer the inspection sequence. Test sequences are distributed over the microscopes, so that, wherever possible, all systems can be used simultaneously.” This saves time and yields results that are optimized for the respective inspection task.
MicroLab is deliberately composed of standard automation technology components. This permits its use as a complete system for inspection, analysis, and quality assurance for a wide range of objects and surfaces. The range of available microscopes ensures that a wide range of tasks can be solved. The combined use of several microscopes, furthermore, opens new possibilities in applications for which individual microscopes would not suffice. Because of its modular design, selected components of MicroLab could easily be incorporated in existing systems.
Another advantage of MicroLab is that industry customers can test various microscopes in their application to determine which is best suited and how to best integrate it into the existing installation.
MicroLab also benefits from the extensive experience of IOSB in the field of image processing. Established methods from the fields of image fusion and photometric stereo imaging have been transferred to the microscopic dimension.
The adaptation of such proven practices pays a significant contribution to successfully putting modular and industry-capable microscopic inspection systems into industrial use.
At CeBIT 2014, part of MicroLab will be presented to the public for the first time. It can be seen in Hall 9 at the Fraunhofer stand.
Dipl.-Ing. Sibylle Wirth | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
PHOTONICS CONGRESS CHINA 2016
04.02.2016 | Messe München GmbH
MD&M West 2016: IVAM presents high-tech for medical devices in California
03.02.2016 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik
Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.
The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
26.01.2016 | Event News
11.02.2016 | Life Sciences
11.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
11.02.2016 | Earth Sciences