Subscribe Button 1

Digital Microscope Offers Real Time Extended Depth of Field

With ZEISS Visioner 1, ZEISS is launching an innovative digital microscope that for the first time enables all-in-one focus in real time thanks to its Micro-mirror Array Lens System (MALS™). With its extended depth of field, users in their quality control and quality assurance applications in manufacturing can for the first time see the sample completely in focus without having to combine different focal planes from a series of images or post-process them. This not only simplifies the imaging and documentation process, but also allows for faster inspection and therefore higher throughput.

Advanced Depth of Field in Real Time

Conventional inspection systems are always challenged by a shallow depth of field, especially at high magnification. This means that only a small area of the sample is in focus, which can lead to features being overlooked and the inspection being incomplete as a result. Extensive refocusing to obtain an extended depth of field, or post-processing, is a solution to this problem, but it is time-consuming and complex. “This is simply a result of the laws of optics,” explains Dr Robert Zarnetta, Head of Industrial Microscopy Solutions at ZEISS. “Even with the ZEISS Visioner 1, we can’t break this law, of course, but we can bend it in some ways.”

The key to this lies in MALS™ technology – the so-called Micro-mirror Array Lens System. This is a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) consisting of a complex of small mirrors measuring 100 x 100 µm. These can be individually adjusted to generate “virtual” lenses with different curvatures and thus focusing planes. This allows the digital microscope to sharply image any point on the sample. “What’s really revolutionary about this is that we can adjust the micro-mirrors so quickly that the image display to the user is in real time,” says Zarnetta. The result is 100 times greater extended depth of field than conventional digital microscopes. It also provides the ability to optically inspect for height differences of up to 69 mm without the need to move the optical system or refocus the sample. 3D information of the sample is visible at a glance, enabling faster and more reliable inspection. Ergonomic operation, fast visualisation and documentation.

For users, this creates tangible benefits in their daily practice. ZEISS Visioner 1 speeds up the inspection process, allowing more components to be inspected in less time. In addition, the elimination of the tiring view through eyepieces and the manual readjustment of the microscope noticeably improves the ergonomics at work. The real-time display of a fully sharp specimen on a screen enables a healthier posture and better concentration on the actual inspection and documentation tasks.

And the combination of full inspection at a glance with the intuitive, workflow-oriented ZEISS ZEN core software significantly simplifies inspection and documentation – especially relevant for highly regulated industries with extensive verification requirements such as automotive, aerospace or the medical industry that rely on complying with GxP guidelines.

“With ZEISS Visioner 1, we are convincingly solving a fundamental problem in microscopy that affects our customers every day,” says Robert Zarnetta. “Directly linked to this is a practical benefit for our customers in the form of a significant increase in their productivity and greater certainty in their inspection results.”

For more information: