Olympus Logo
Olympus LogoOlympus Logo
Application Notes
Back to Resources

Surface profile evaluation for thermal spraying / Surface roughness measurement using a laser microscope


Thermal spraying is a technique used for surface modification. The material that is going to be sprayed is first heated to a nearly molten state. The heated material is then sprayed on the target object at high speed to deposit a coating. Air pores that form in this coating create a surface that is resistant to thermal shock and impregnation. Thermal spraying can be applied to various materials including metals, ceramics, and plastics. Likewise, the material that is sprayed can also be a metal, alloy, or ceramic. There is no thermal effect on the target object and no limitation on target dimensions.
Sand blasting is used to roughen the surface of the substrate to strengthen the adhesion between the substrate and the sprayed particles. The roughness of both the sand blasted surface and the resulting surface post thermal spraying both needs to be evaluated. When these surface irregularities are minute, it may be difficult to accurately measure the bottom of a concavity using conventional contact-type roughness measurement instruments.

Olympus' solution

Olympus' OLS4100 3D scanning laser microscope enables high-resolution, high-definition observation of a substrate before thermal spraying is applied and the resulting surface after thermal spraying. The OLS4100 makes it easy to obtain three-dimensional data with no contact to measure the surface roughness quantitatively.

Thermal spraying of alumina

Thermal spraying of tungsten carbide

Substrate surface

alumina_substrate surface

carbide_substrare surface

Surface after thermal spraying

alumina_surface after thermal spraying
20X objective lens; 1x zoom

carbide_surface after thermal spraying
20X objective lens; 1x 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.
Sorry, this page is not available in your country

Let us know what you're looking for by filling out the form below.