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I.  Measurement questions

What can I measure with MProbe

Practically, any translucent coating can be measured. If coating is opaque in the visible range – near-infrared wavelength range can be used. MProbe is used to measure thousands of different applications and new application are constantly being discovered. In general, there are only several types of coating that we cannot measure: pigmented paint, thick metal films (>50nm),graphite (amorphous or diamond like carbon is no problem), paper, textile/fabric.

What is the thickness range

The thickness range depends on the spectrometer resolution and wavelength ranges, so it is different for each MProbe system model. It also dependent upon the optical properties of the sample (refractive index and absorption). Several MProbe models can be combines together to extends the measurement range. Total thickness ranges is 1nm to ~ 2mm. Read more here…

Can I measure metal film

MProbe is using optical measurement method, so measurable metal thickness is limited to ~< 50nm. Thicker metal films are becoming opaque and cannot be measured. Read more here…

How fast is the measurement

Typical measurement is < 100ms. The measurement process includes data acquisition and data analysis. Measurement conditions and filmstack can be optimized for a faster measurement when needed.

II. MProbe integration questions

I want to integrate thin film measurement in my system, how can I do it

There are many ways to integrate MProbe or part thereof with third party system. Both software and hardware are easy to integrate. Software allows remote control of the measurement using optional  TCP server (Modbus based). There are several OEM hardware packages depending on requirements. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.  

Can I use MProbe for inline measurement

MProbe is currently used for many inline measurements. We customize the system for each new application. Depending on requirements there is a static position option (with 1 to 5 probes) and a scanner mounted option(learn more..) Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

I already have spectrometer - can I just buy software

We understand that sometimes our University/R&D customers already have spectrometers and some other components and just need a suitable software to have a thickness measurement setup. TFCompanion software can work with several commercial/off-shelf spectrometers: Ocean Optics USB spectrometers, Avantes USB spectrometers. There are different installers depending on spectrometer use. Let us know the model of spectrometer and your application requirements.

I already have a microscope - can I use it with MProbe

Our MProbe 40 (MSP) system uses inspection grade reflectance microscope with long working distance (LWD) objectives. It is possible to integrate practically any microscope with MProbe but one needs to be careful about wavelength range supported by microscope optics. The easiest way to integrate MProbe with a microscope is to use our microscope adapter . It connects to C-flange of microscope camera port and includes beamsplitter and 2MP camera

III. MProbe communicaton and  power


MProbe system has USB 2.0 and 1GB LAN connection interfaces. Either one can be used for measurement. 

USB advantage is convenience (direct connection/ no router)

USB disadvantages:

  • short connection length <10ft (3m) 
  • if connection is interrupted it is not possible, in most cases, to reconnect. The system needs to be manually restarted.
  • Moving/touching USB cable can  easily cause disconnect

LAN  does not have these  USB problems. It can be used over long distance and interrupted connection  can be quickly restored without restarting the system

What about disconnects?

Low or no disconnects is an important requirement for inline measurement. MProbe has firmware and software  support to quickly restore connection without restart of the system. On the firmware level MProbe spectrometer is using a watchdog that monitors activity and resets the firmware in case of a problem. On  the software  level, the driver is automatically restores the connection  if it is  lost. As a result  MProbe can  work continuously for a long time. 


MProbe system is using 24V DC.

It is used to power spectrometer electronics and the light source. Power requirements depend on the system and range from 20W to 120W.  Each system includes a 24VDC  adapter with recommended power for long term stable operation. If 24VDC power line is available – it can be used instead of the adapter.    

Can I integrate MProbe with the PLC

Yes, MProbe can be integrated with the PLC. It has an option of analog output of up to 4 thicknesses (4 layers) in the analog form (typically, 0-20mA but 0-5V is also possible).  We have a TCP server software available with the interface suitable for PLC integration

IV. MProbe measurement spot

How small is a measurement spot

Measurement spot size depends of the fiber core and magnification of the lens. Standard fiber core  is 0.4mm and standard lens magnification is 1x (from MProbe 20 system).  Typically, spot size is < 1mm 

MProbe 40 has different objectives and the spot can be  down to  2um. There is a trade off between the spot size and light intensity collected i.e. integration time increases as the spot size decreases.

What spot size do I need

There are obvious cases when a small spot is clearly needed e.g. measuring is small areas (patterned wafer) or measuring coating on a wire or other non-flat surface with high curvature.

But it is not always possible to determine if small spot is needed and how small it needs to be without prior experience or experimentation 

The general idea is that the measurement area should be flat and have uniform thickness within the measurement spot. This means that, for example, measuring coating on a metal surface(not polished) frequently require  a small spot (learn more ..). 

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