High-Speed-Microscopy for quality control

Lightning-fast recording of large areas with microscopic resolution

© Fraunhofer IPT
Automatic full-surface examination of a wafer for microscopic structures under the High-Speed-Microscope

With High-Speed-Microscopy, large-area objects can be acquired in a very short time on a microscopic scale. In industries such as semiconductors, electronics and biology, the demand for microscopic inspection methods is particularly high, as the increasing inspection of large surfaces requires an ever faster acquisition process.

In contrast to conventional stop-and-go operation, high-speed microscopy allows the object to move continuously during the recording process. This allows the sample to be digitized at very high frame rates - more than 100 fps depending on the camera. Synchronous flash illumination avoids motion blur. During the continuous scanning process, real-time hardware autofocus systems automatically adjust the focus so that the sample is sharply imaged at any point. The individual images are stitched together by an efficient stitching algorithm to form a high-resolution, large-area overall image.

Software for real-time data acquisition with RAM recording, which was developed at the Fraunhofer IPT specifically for high-speed microscopy, ensures that image preprocessing and stitching run without delay thanks to GPU processing. The images can be automatically evaluated using specially developed image processing algorithms. Current developments are aimed at the use of machine learning methods such as Deep Learning using Convolutional Neuronal Networks (CNN).

Although the process is already around 30 times faster than comparable stop-and-go methods, the Fraunhofer IPT is working on accelerating the recording process even further. To this end, in addition to constantly improving the software, new components are regularly integrated, such as flash illumination, sensor technology for the hardware autofocus system and camera technology.

Our services

  • Development of high-throughput microscopy solutions with customized software
  • Enabling existing microscopes for high-speed image acquisition
  • Development and installation of high-performance short-pulse illumination systems
  • Individual image data evaluation, classical and AI-supported
  • Integration into automated systems

Applications

Electronics and
wafer manufacturing

With the individually adaptable software of the Fraunhofer IPT, both individual assemblies and entire wafers can be examined for microscopic defects and automatically evaluated. Special types of illumination can be integrated.

Biology

With phase-contrast-, fluorescence-, transmitted-light- and reflected-light-microscopy, high-speed microscopy can very quickly capture entire cell culture vessels and slides and thus produce a complete image.

Microstructure manufacturing

Large-area microstructures can be scanned very quickly with high-speed microscopy. Inline image recognition is possible.

Projects

AIxCell

In the »AIxCell« project, we and our partners have developed a software tool that automatically preprocesses cell images so that biological specialists can directly select and use a suitable model.

StemCellFactory

A high-speed microscope allows the complete recording of microtiter-plates in less than one minute. Image evaluation using deep learning already allows the classification of induced pluripotent stem cells.

Liftoscope

In the »LIFToscope« research project, we are developing a fully automated system for cell analysis and separation. A laser integrated into the high-speed microscope transfers living cells gently and precisely.

APERITIf

Phase contrast is one of the most important microscopy methods for making transparent, unstained cells visible. Adaptive phase contrast microscopy magnifies the visible area many times over.

JointPromise

In »JointPromise« we are developing an automated manufacturing platform for the production of functional joint implants.

StemCellDiscovery

The High-Speed-Microscope enables the complete recording of microtiter plates in less than one minute with fluorescence measurement and TDI-Scanning.

Publications

High speed microscopy of moving cell culture vessels

(Schenk et al., 2016): High-speed microscopy of continuously moving cell culture vessels, Fraunhofer IPT, 2016.

Automated cultivation in StemCellDiscovery

(Ochs et al., 2021): Fully Automated Cultivation of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells in the StemCellDiscovery - A Robotic Laboratory for Small-Scale, High-Throughput Cell Production Including Deep Learning-Based Confluence Estimation, Fraunhofer IPT, 2021.

Deep Learning

(Piotrowski et al., 2021): Deep-learning-based multi-class segmentation for automated, non-invasive routine assessment of human pluripotent stem cell culture status, Fraunhofer IPT, 2021.

Microscopy in motion

With rapid digitization of samples and parallel image evaluation, automated microscopy for analytics and quality control can be accelerated and made more efficient.