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  • Olympus ’Scope Used for New Standards
Jul 2010
HAMBURG, Germany, July 19, 2010 — Olympus has announced that the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is using the company’s LEXT OLS4000 confocal microscope to establish good practice guidelines for the calibration of 3-D/areal surface texture measuring instruments. The NPL project will establish robust and easy to use calibration steps and reference standards for all the major areal surface measurement instrumentation technologies, with the LEXT chosen as the reference device. The good practice guide on calibration of confocal microscopes also will provide input to the upcoming ISO 25187-707 standard.

Instruments capable of providing areal surface texture information are becoming increasingly popular, but currently lack any traceability routes. As a result, ISO standards are being prepared by a team led by Prof. Richard Leach, principal research scientist at the NPL. As an important component of these standards, Leach’s team is defining good practice guidelines using archetypal examples of: stylus instruments, white light interferometers, focus variation instruments and confocal microscopes. The project will use a range of artifacts to characterize the scaling, linearity, orthogonality, angular response, repeatability and resolution of the X, Y and Z axes. Although the LEXT OLS4000 is being used by Leach’s team as the archetypical confocal instrument, the guide will not be specific to the Olympus instrument.

“All measurement techniques require comprehensive reference standards to ensure consistency across the various instruments and technologies. These standards must also include robust, yet easy-to-use, calibration steps for each technology and, therefore, it is essential to have access to typical examples of each technology,” Leach said.

As well as enabling the generation of good practice guides, the project will define the reference areal artifacts to be used during calibration. Once the project is complete, users of areal surface measurement instruments will be able to obtain a calibration “bento box” with the guidelines and artifacts to ensure better accuracy both within and between instruments and projects.

The Olympus LEXT OLS4000 has a large and very fast MEMS scanning mirror along with dual pinholes, which provides one of the most advanced measuring confocal laser scanning microscopy in the market. The larger mirror enables the system to provide superior optical quality, and the increased scan speed reduces the time it takes to create a 3-D image of a sample. The 405-nm laser and dual pinholes operate simultaneously to ensure that the system provides the highest possible resolution and contrast as well as enabling steep slope detection up to 85 degrees, ensuring that even the most complex of surface topographies can be imaged and analyzed. These features, along with its accurate Z-drive and stage combine seamlessly with the software interface to provide the measurement capabilities and flexibility required for even the busiest of laboratories

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A relationship between two variables so that when plotted on a graph they yield a straight line.
The degree to which a predetermined or previous setting of a positioning device can be duplicated by observance of the optical phenomena.
1. In optics, the ability of a lens system to reproduce the points, lines and surfaces in an object as separate entities in the image. 2. The minimum adjustment increment effectively achievable by a positioning mechanism. 3. In image processing, the accuracy with which brightness, spatial parameters and frame rate are divided into discrete levels.
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