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SPIE Professional July 2017

Designs for interference microscopy objectives earn Zygo scientists Rudolf Kingslake Medal

Two researchers from Zygo Corp. are recipients of the Rudolf Kingslake Medal and Prize for 2016. SPIE presents the award annually for the most noteworthy original paper published in the journal Optical Engineering.

photo of Peter de Groot photo of James Biegen
Peter de Groot James Biegen

SPIE Fellow Peter de Groot, executive director of R&D at Zygo, and James Biegen, a senior technical staff member, are the authors of “Interference microscope objectives for wide-field areal surface topography measurements,” an open-access paper published in the July 2016 issue of the journal.

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 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.

Biegen and de Groot propose a type of low-magnification interference objective that extends the range of application for flexible microscope platforms to larger fields of view.

figure from journal article

“The objective comprises a beam splitter plate and a partially transparent reference mirror arranged coaxially with the objective lens system,” according to the authors. “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 features two separate designs; a turret-mountable 1.4× magnification objective parfocal with high-magnification objectives up to 100×, and a dovetail mount 0.5× objective with a 34×34  mm field. Their 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.

“The authors of this article deserve the 2016 Rudolf Kingslake Medal and Prize for a useful article with a close-to-perfect overall presentation,” says Daniel Malacara Hernández, an associate editor for Optical Engineering.

“It is written in a clear and concise style, with excellent reference to the history and state of the art. The results are illustrative and convincing.”

Malacara Hernández notes that the paper could be a “wonderful introduction for newcomers to this field as well as students.”

SPIE Fellow Tomasz Tkaczyk, chair of the Kingslake Award Committee, adds that the article is an important response to new requirements in industrial metrology.


DOI: 10.1117/2.4201707.17

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