Reeves would like to have the widest possible range of wavelengths available for inspection of material. The ability to image in
the infrared and ultraviolet ranges would be
useful, as would being able to look with
polarized light. For the most part, though,
he’s happy with the current technology.
Keyence is another supplier of handheld
microscopes. According to project manager
Brian Gaehring, the company has been
making these products for two decades,
with the latest incarnation appearing last
year. These systems, according to Gaehring,
offer better imaging than those adapted
from something intended to be viewed by
eye. “The optics and CCD detector work
together to provide sharp and clear observation,” he said.
That detector is a single-chip, 2.1-mega-
pixel device, but Keyence wrings out of
the setup the equivalent performance of up
to a 54-megapixel, three-CCD chip. This
feat is accomplished with an actuator that
moves the chip in the dead time while
images are being captured. This approach
does have its drawbacks, among them the
requirement for a very accurate actuator.
But the benefit is substantial in that the
technique eliminates the need for an actual
three-chip camera or color filter. The former would make the device more cumbersome and expensive. The latter would
Another feature of the Keyence handheld
microscope is a very large depth of field,
with the company claiming a depth 20 times
that of a conventional optical microscope.
This can be useful when inspecting parts
because such things as recessed markings,
protruding features and complex structures
can all be in focus at the same time.
In addition to a stand, the system also
has a software solution to combat the
shaking that blurs images. Proprietary
pattern recognition algorithms distinguish
between image movement due to motion
of the object being studied and that caused
by movement of the microscope itself.
Software then corrects for the motion
caused by the microscope, thereby stabilizing the image. Gaehring said that the
algorithms do this correction well enough
to eliminate any apparent motion during
handheld inspection. He noted that this
adjustment is possible only because of a
powerful graphics processor in the system.
Keyence product sales director Sean
Gasparovic pointed out that the lighting
is controlled by the system and travels
over fiber optics to the lens itself. That
19th INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR AND CONGRESS FOR OPTICAL
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