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Surface Observation of Various Fibers for Fabrics/ 3D shape observation of a micro area using a laser microscope


Fabrics used for clothing are broadly categorized into natural fibers (cotton, linen, wool, cashmere) and chemical fibers (acrylic, polyester). The fiber’s surface condition affect its absorbability, hygroscopicity, heat retention, dye-affinity, and texture. Managing the surface profile of these fibers down to the micron level becomes significant when it comes to enhancing the performance and quality of the fibers.
The surface profile of a fiber is so minute that it is usually observed using an electron microscope. However, electron microscopes require time-consuming sample preparation steps, and they are not very good for quantitative evaluations, such as surface roughness. Because the fibers are very delicate, manufacturers require a method for evaluating the fiber’s quality with minimal sample preparation so that the fibers are not damaged.

The Olympus solution

Olympus' OLS4100 3D scanning laser microscope enables users to make three-dimensional observations and roughness measurements of the surface of a fiber. The OLS4100 features dedicated objective lenses with high numerical apertures and an optical system that obtains maximum performance from the 405 nm laser so it can clearly capture the profile of a curved fiber surface without causing damage.

Human hair


Objective lens 50X  



Objective lens 50X



Objective lens 50X



Objective lens 50X  



Objective lens 50X

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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