Chris Hellwig, Product Manager for Carl Zeiss MicroImaging GmbH, explains how imaging your in-line metrology equipment gives you the results you would expect from laboratory instruments, without the need for time-consuming alignment…
Since the mid-90s, Carl Zeiss has constantly aspired to lab-like accuracy in in-line applications. We achieved the same tolerances expected from a laboratory instrument, and we have now achieved these tolerances without the need for complex alignment, even in a hot environment. This reduces the time required for commissioning and maintaining coating lines, and reduces the footprint of the line and the cost of ownership.
In the past we have shown that our costumers can expect highly accurate results from our in-line metrology solutions such as the OPTOPLEX systems. These systems are used in coating lines for architectural glass as well as thin film solar, in order to inspect a coating’s properties after each coating step. They are used when implementing new coating processes, during ramp-up and when operating the line during mass production.
Carl Zeiss OPTOPLEX systems are used not only to measure and monitor spectral data and calculate the colour values of the sample in the vacuum coating chamber, but also to predict coating properties like film thicknesses. Therefore, the demands in terms of stability and accuracy increase.
Due to the challenges involved in predicting the coating parameters of spectral data, it is necessary to operate metrology stations after each coating stage.
The amount of time required for calibration at each station in traditional illumination and optical approaches is no longer acceptable. Additionally, the risk of misalignment is very high. It is necessary to vent the compartment in order to fix misalignments very often.