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Quality management in working with extra-fine tubes / Surface roughness analysis of a micro area using a laser microscope


As the demand for smaller products continues to grow, parts used to make these products also become smaller. Such parts include probe cards for semiconductor inspection and extra-fine metal tubes used for medical equipment. Today, it’s possible to produce ultra-fine metal tubes with a diameter as small as 10μm, smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Producing these extremely fine metal tubes requires careful monitoring of the surface profile during the bending and drawing processes, the condition of electric discharge machining applied to the surface, and the state of the cutting surface. However, monitoring these conditions is problematic because the portions being machined are so small that conventional analytical methods cannot evaluate them properly.

Olympus' solution

Olympus 3D scanning laser microscope LEXT scans a micro area with a laser to measure the fine surface profile, or roughness. The microscope’s non-contact laser stylus accurately reproduces the shape of a micro area, something that is almost impossible to do using a contact-type probe. The horizontal resolution is 0.12 μm, and the step resolution is 5 nm. The measurement accuracy is traceable. These features make it possible to effectively monitor the surface profile of even very small parts.

Surface of a metal tube

surface of a metal tube_objective 20x_zoom 1x
20X objective lens; 1x zoom

surface of a metal tube_objective 100x_zoom 8x
100X objective lens; 8x zoom

Cutting surface evaluation

cutting surface evaluation_objective 20x_zoom 1x
20X objective lens; 1x zoom

cutting surface evaluation_objective 100x_zoom 2x
100X objective lens; 2x zoom

Olympus IMS
Products used for this application

With the Olympus LEXT OLS5000 laser scanning confocal microscope, noncontact, nondestructive 3D observations and measurements are easy to produce. Simply by pushing the Start button, users can measure fine shapes at the submicron level. Ease of use is combined with leading-edge features to deliver an acquisition speed four times faster than our previous model. For customers with larger samples, LEXT long working distance objectives and an extended frame option allow the system to accommodate samples as large as 210 mm.
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