This section provides overview, applications, and principles of industrial microscopes. Also, please take a look at the list of 8 industrial microscope manufacturers and their company rankings.
An industrial microscope often refer to metallurgical microscopes, which are often used to observe the surface of opaque samples such as metals and semiconductors. Metallurgical microscopes shine light onto a sample from the objective lens side and observe the reflected light. In order to efficiently observe samples for industrial use, some models have not only the function of a metallurgical microscope but also that of an ordinary optical microscope, a polarizing microscope, a scanning probe microscope, etc., and have multiple observation methods.
There are also microscopes that combine several functions such as a camera and 3D measurement in addition to the microscope function.
Metallurgical microscopes as industrial microscopes are suitable for surface observation of opaque specimens such as ceramic structures, metals, alloys, polished surfaces, and electronic components.
Therefore, it is used for development, analysis, and inspection during the manufacture of products such as semiconductors, magnetic heads, liquid crystals, and films. It is also used for post-processing analysis such as casting, heat treatment, and metallurgy. Detailed observation is also possible, such as observation of substrate solder joint surfaces and the depth of weld penetration.
In addition to industrial applications, microscopes are also needed for research in metallography and mineralogy.
There are two types of metallurgical microscopes used for industrial applications: upright microscopes, which observe a sample from above, and inverted microscopes, which observe a sample from below. The upright microscope is a common type of microscope in which the sample is placed under the objective lens and observed from above the objective lens. In an inverted microscope, the tip of the objective lens is on the upper side and the specimen is observed from below.
The light source of a metallurgical microscope is inside the objective lens. A prism or lens is placed between the objective lens and the eyepiece, and light irradiated onto the specimen from the objective lens side and reflected back is magnified for observation. No cover glass is used for observation in metallurgical microscopes. Magnification ranges from 50x to 1000x.
Many metallurgical microscopes have multiple functions, and many models are capable of bright-field, dark-field, and polarized light observation using reflected illumination and bright-field observation using transmitted illumination. In bright-field observation with reflected illumination, surfaces that are not flat, such as cracks, pores, and grain boundaries, appear dark. Conversely, in dark-field observation, flat surfaces appear dark and the contrast is the opposite of bright-field.
In a broad sense, industrial microscopes are a generic term for microscopes used in manufacturing and other industrial fields. Therefore, not only optical microscopes but also electron microscopes and digital microscopes are also industrial microscopes. In general, however, the term "industrial microscopes" often refers to optical metallurgical microscopes.
Metallurgical microscopes often use reflective illumination, which shines light on the surface of the object to be measured, and observation is the purpose of use in many situations. In contrast, a measuring microscope also has transmitted illumination. In addition, the stage on which the object to be measured is placed is equipped with a digital scale and counter as standard, and has mechanisms and functions for measurement. In summary, industrial microscopes are microscopes used in industry in general, and since they are mainly used for observation, they are rarely required to guarantee magnification on the stage travel or magnified observation image.
Thus, selecting a microscope according to its application not only ensures the proper use of the cost of installed equipment, but also eliminates the need to have an unnecessary number of different devices.
Industrial microscopes can be classified into upright and inverted microscopes, depending on their structure. They are classified according to whether the objective lens is above or below the object to be measured. An upright microscope is one in which the objective lens is above the object to be measured, while an inverted microscope is one in which the objective lens is below.
The microscopes that are generally associated with the image of a microscope are upright microscopes. Many microscopes allow either transmission or reflection depending on the illumination method, and the optical system can be easily designed. In contrast, inverted microscopes are often used in fields such as medicine and metallurgy. This is because in the medical field, it is suitable for observing a petri dish from the bottom, and in the metallurgical field, it is easy to level the observation surface in relation to the optical axis by placing the surface face down. Both have the characteristic that the object is required to be observed from the bottom.
As an example, an inverted microscope can be used not only in specific fields but also in a wide range of fields by simply devising the way to approach the object to be observed.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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