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New design for interference microscopy lenses wins Rudolf Kingslake Medal

03 May 2017

Optical Engineering article reports how Zygo pair extend range of applications for flexible microscope platforms to larger fields of view.

Two researchers from Zygo Corporation have been awarded the Rudolf Kingslake Medal and Prize for 2016. The award is presented annually for the most noteworthy original paper in Optical Engineering, published by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics (and publisher of optics.org).

Zygo, based in Middlefield, CT, USA, is a leading developer of advanced optical metrology systems and ultra-precise optical components and assemblies.

Peter de Groot and James Biegen are the authors of Interference microscope objectives for wide-field areal surface topography measurements. The award will be presented at a banquet during the SPIE Optics and Photonics conference in San Diego, California, in August, 2017.

Precision manufacturing

From the fabrication of diesel fuel injectors to patterned semiconductor wafers, surface metrology on the microscopic scale is an essential step in the precision manufacturing and production of many modern products.

To increase the field of view on current state-of-the-art microscopes for interferometry, multiple obstacles must be addressed, including the size, weight, and form factor of classical interference objectives.

The researchers propose a type of low-magnification interference objective that extends the range of application for flexible microscope platforms to larger fields of view. In the Optical Engineering article, they stated, "The objective comprises a beam splitter plate and a partially-transparent reference mirror arranged coaxially with the objective lens system. The coaxial plates are slightly tilted to direct unwanted reflections outside of the imaging pupil aperture, providing high fringe contrast with spatially extended white-light illumination."

The study presents two separate designs; a turret-mountable 1.4x magnification objective parfocal with high-magnification objectives up to 100×, and a dovetail mount 0.5x objective with a 34x34  mm field. The scientists say that these designs are “a practical alternative to the classical Michelson and Mirau type objectives, which have been the standard objectives for most of the history of surface topography interference microscopy.”

Winner: Zygo's Peter de Groot.

Winner: Zygo's Peter de Groot.

About the winners

Peter de Groot is the executive director of R&D at Zygo. His research focuses on optical metrology for form, texture, part dimensions, and position. He has published over 140 technical papers, tutorials, and book chapters in the fields of physics, interferometry, stage motion measurement, and international metrology standards. His research has led to 130 US patents for optical instruments. He is an SPIE fellow and active contributor in the optics community.

James Biegen is a senior technical staff member at Zygo, specializing in the optical design of advanced metrology instrumentation. His interests range from laser Fizeau interferometry to interference microscopy, covering the complete product development cycle from applied research to manufacturing engineering. His contributions include physical optics modeling and the invention of high-precision interference objectives for both laser and white-light illumination. His work is highlighted in multiple U.S. patents and peer-reviewed journal articles.

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