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Surface observation of ink-jet paper and regular paper / Non-contact 3D profile evaluation using a laser microscope


In ink-jet printing, color is fixed through the penetration of ink into paper. Ink droplets are absorbed into the pores of the paper but, in some instances, this can lead to ink bleeding. To create the highest quality image possible, manufacturers create paper that minimizes bleeding. Coated paper, which is widely used for ink-jet printing, absorbs ink both on the coat layer and on the paper beneath, facilitating fine dot size control, good color development, and beautiful reproduction of fine lines. Coated paper is widely used for professional-quality leaflets and other fine documents. Glossy paper used for ink-jet printing is characterized by a smooth surface and is suitable for applications such as photo prints. The condition of the fibers and the surface profile (roughness) of the coat layer in these kinds of paper significantly impact printing quality. Consequently, manufacturers must measure the surface roughness of their paper to ensure they are producing a high-quality product. Conventional roughness measurement methods, such as a contact stylus, can damage paper making it difficult to assess roughness.

Olympus' solution

The Olympus OLS4100 3D scanning laser microscope uses a non-contact stylus to obtain high-resolution, high-precision 3D surface profile measurements. The OLS4100 enables users to observe irregularities and measure the roughness of paper’s surface. The microscope’s confocal optical system produces clear 2D images so users can clearly observe entwined paper fibers or the condition of a coated surface. The microscope’s film thickness function is effective for observing a sectional image or micro irregularities on a smooth surface.

Coated paper
coated paper   

Glossy paper
glossy paper

Regular paper
regular paper

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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