Equipment and Software


Olympus LEXT OLS4000

A vertical scanning laser confocal microscope with a 120 nm line-width resolution.  This microscope is used for 3D topographical measurement and "true color" image acquisition.  This equipment is entrusted to the lab by Olympus Microimaging.

Hommel Tester T500
A portable, conventional contact profilometer (Hommel Tester T500, vertical range 180µm, stylus diameter 10µm), with an RS232 interface for transferring the profile data to a PC for conventional, advanced and non-conventional analyses.
Mahr Perthometer PRK
Contact profilometer (Mahr Perthometer PRK) donated to the lab by Mahr Corporation in the spring of 1999.

left: Shown in the laboratory setup; center: Shown modified for field work; right: Shown in the field taking data.

Scanning Laser Profiler
A scanning laser profiler, or microscope (SLM), designed and built at WPI with the support of a research grant from NASA Langley Research Center. Horizontal range 150 x 150 mm; vertical range 50.4mm, spatial resolution 25µm.
A scatterometer was designed and built at WPI, which measures angle resolved scattering (ARS) of light off surfaces. Light scattering has excellent potential for use in in-process, noncontact monitoring of surface roughness. As part of a project with NASA, a doctoral student has investigated the relation between surface topographies, conventional and nonconventional roughness parameters and ARS of light.
UBM Laser Microscope
A surface scanning microscope received from Solarius Development Inc.

The laboratory has also analyzed data acquired from other instruments, e.g., confocal microscopes, AFMs and STMs, located in laboratories in the US and in Europe.

The laboratory has access to equipment for making surfaces, e.g., conventional machining, surface grinding and metallographic polishing. This equipment can be used with the laboratory's Kistler machining force dynamometer to investigate the influence of process variables on surface topography in manufacturing and wear.

SURFRAX © is a specialized program for determination of scale related fractal properties of measured surfaces. This software was developed by Dr. Christopher A. Brown and uses his patented Patchwork Method for determining area scale fractal properties of measured surfaces. The Picture to the right shows a screen capture of a patchwork tiling exercise performed on a 10 X 10 mm measured surface of a concrete sample. The measurement contains 400X400 elevations and was made using the labs SLM shown above.

Surfrax uses principles suggested by fractal geometry to analyze measured surfaces. This scale-sensitive fractal analysis goes beyond the limitations of the conventional methods and make use of more of the information contained in the data to calculate parameters capable of making functional correlations where conventional parameters cannot.

For more information about this program please visit Surfract



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Last modified: April 30, 2010 13:58:48