Imaging of metal surfaces using confocal laser scanning microscopy

Yıldız, Bilge Can
Optical imaging techniques have improved much over the last fifty years since the invention of the laser. With a high brightness source many imaging applications which were once inaccessible to researchers have now become a reality. Among these techniques, the most beneficial one is the use of lasers for both wide-field and confocal imaging systems. The aim of this study was to design a laser imaging system based on the concept of laser scanning confocal microscopy. Specifically the optical system was based on optical fibers allowing the user to image remote areas such as the inner surface of rifled gun barrels and/or pipes with a high degree of precision (+/- 0.01 mm). In order to build such a system, initially the theoretical foundation for a confocal as well as a wide-field imaging system was analyzed. Using this basis a free-space optical confocal system was built and analyzed. The measurements support the fact that both the objective numerical aperture and pinhole size play an important role in the radial and axial resolution of the system as well as the quality of the images obtained. To begin construction of a confocal, optical-fiber based imaging system first an all fiber wide-field imaging system was designed and tested at a working wavelength of 1550 nm. Then an all fiber confocal system was designed at a working wavelength of 808 nm. In both cases results showed that while lateral resolution was adequate, axial resolution suffered since it was found that the design of the optical system needs to take into account under-filling of the objective lens, a result common with the use of laser beams whose divergence is not at all like that of a point source. The work done here will aid technology that will be used in the elimination process of faulty rifling fabrication in defense industry. The reason why the confocal technique is preferred to the conventional wide-field one is the need for better resolution in all directions. Theoretical concepts and mathematical background are discussed as well as the experimental results and the practical advantages of such a system.


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Citation Formats
B. C. Yıldız, “Imaging of metal surfaces using confocal laser scanning microscopy,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2011.