ITASCA, Ill., July 6, 2011 — The VK-X series 3-D laser scanning microscopes manufactured by Keyence Corp. of America combine the capabilities of scanning electron microscopes and noncontact roughness gauges with the simplicity of an optical microscope. The systems deliver 0.5-nm Z-axis resolution with a magnification range from 200× to 24,000×. Ease of use has been improved with the addition of the AI-Scan function, allowing users to image and measure a target with a click of the mouse. With high-resolution color imaging and nanometer-level profile measurement functions, the microscopes have been designed to overcome the inadequacies of conventional imaging and profiling technologies. A short-wavelength laser scans across a target to provide noncontact profile, roughness and thickness measurements, even on targets with highly angular surfaces. By combining the laser with a 16-bit photomultiplier, the microscopes can obtain an image and make a measurement on nearly any type of material, and they can perform thickness measurements on transparent films and coatings. To simplify operation, the AI-Scan function was developed to automate the scanning process. Users place the sample on the stage and click a button to automatically adjust the sensitivity of the photomultiplier, set the upper and lower limits of the scan range and re-scan the target as needed to make sure that all of the necessary information is captured. A wide-scan function that is eight times faster than that of conventional laser scanning microscopes, according to the company, improves the quality of the captured image. A high-speed autofocus algorithm is incorporated into the system, and images can be captured at up to 21.6 megapixels.