Surface imaging microscope

Eric W. Rogala, Isaac N. Bankman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The three-dimensional shapes of microscopic objects are becoming increasingly important for battlespace CBRNE sensing. Potential applications of microscopic 3D shape observations include characterization of biological weapon particles and manufacturing of micromechanical components. Aerosol signatures of stand-off lidar systems, using elastic backscatter or polarization, are dictated by the aerosol particle shapes and sizes that must be well characterized in the lab. A low-cost, fast instrument for 3D surface shape microscopy will be a valuable point sensor for biological particle sensing applications. Both the cost and imaging durations of traditional techniques such as confocal microscopes, atomic force microscopes, and electron scanning microscopes are too high. We investigated the feasibility of a low-cost, fast interferometric technique for imaging the 3D surface shape of microscopic objects at frame rates limited only by the camera in the system. The system operates at two laser wavelengths producing two fringe images collected simultaneously by a digital camera, and a specialized algorithm we developed reconstructs the surface map of the microscopic object. The current implementation assembled to test the concept and develop the new 3D reconstruction algorithm has 0.25 micron resolution in the x and y directions, and about 0.1 micron accuracy in the z direction, as tested on a microscopic glass test object manufactured with etching techniques. We describe the interferometric instrument, present the reconstruction algorithm, and discuss further development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing IX
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
EventChemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing IX - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: Mar 18 2008Mar 20 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherChemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Sensing IX
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • Aerosols
  • Biological weapons
  • Characterization
  • Detection
  • Fringes
  • Interferometry
  • Microscopy
  • Particles
  • Profilometry
  • Surface map

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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