Contactless and non-destructive surface analysis
It is rare that the material alone determines the property and function of a material or component. The structuring of surfaces is also an impacting factor and as such its analysis is becoming increasingly important. The possibilities of surface structuring are as varied as the materials used. This also applies to the structural sizes used in research and industry. They span several orders of magnitude, ranging from a few millimeters to a few nanometers. These structure can be manufactured through mechanical, chemical, and physical processing methods.
The analysis of the surface structure is not only necessary in materials research, but also in product development. Therefore, the investigation of the surfaces of the equipment used for moulding of materials is an important step in process optimization.
Analysis with laser scanning
In laser scanning microscopy, the test specimen is scanned by a laser beam to generate a 3D image of its surface. In comparison with tactile methods, the advantages of this contactless and non-destructive measurement technique are evident. The measurement time can be reduced to a fraction of that of mechanical measurements. The roughness and other structural parameters can be determined not only for individual lines (Ra, according to ISO 4287), but directly for entire surfaces (Sa, according to ISO 25178). Given that a mechanical tip is not needed, a higher spatial resolution can be achieved. Relevant points can be measured as often as desired without affecting the measured value or damaging the surface. The recorded values of the test specimen can be converted into common 3D CAD data and subsequently used for comparison to reference values, for mechanical and optical simulations or for plastic representation by 3D printing. A motorized sample stage enables the acquisition of micro- and nanoscopic surface structures on macroscopic surfaces.