Optical Microscopy

Optical Microscopy

Optical microscopy, with a history that spans five centuries, is too often overlooked as a fundamental tool by surface analysts. Modern optical microscopes are capable of capturing contrast detail from most surfaces. Lens design has allowed sufficient image brightness that detail can be readily resolved near the optical limit of resolution (0.25µm). Use of a range of on- and off-axis incident light beams greatly extends the possibility of topographic contrast.

Our four optical microscopes, capable of magnifications ranging from 6.5 X to 2000 X, are interfaced to high-resolution colour digital cameras that allow capture of digital images. Our Keyence VHX-6000 digital microscope offers the latest in image stacking, which gives a fully focussed image across a large depth of field, image stitching and a full package of image analysis and metrology options. Our Zeiss microscopes are interfaced with a Keyence VHX-950F which allows for a similar suite of image capture and analysis options. Further high magnification imaging solutions and metrology options are also available using our confocal laser scanning microscope.

Examining samples by optical microscopy aids us in determining which technique will be the most suitable if further analysis is required.

Optical microscope image of woven fibers.
Optical microscope images
Optical microscope images of microelectronic devices at various magnifications.
Optical microscope image of typed ink in a book.


Keyence VHX-6000 Digital Microscope
Zeiss Axioplan Compound Microscope (interfaced with a Keyence VHX-950F)
Zeiss Discovery V8 Stereomicroscope (interfaced with a Keyence VHX-950F)
WILD M3Z Stereomicroscope (interfaced with Northern Eclipse Software v.8.0 and Camera)


  • Imaging of cross-sections
  • Imaging of microstructure from etched metallurgical cross-sections
  • Film thicknesses
  • Layer thicknesses of cross-sections
  • Imaging of defects on surfaces