Fraunhofer IPM has many years of experience in developing and automating microscopy techniques for a variety of applications. These include inspecting defects, e.g. on solar cells, and developing automated microscopes, e.g. for analyzing cell cultures in incubators. Special microscopes with exceptional properties are thus developed using commercial components.
Current work at the institute aims to integrate complex microscopy systems into the production environment. To do this, Fraunhofer IPM has widened its expertise in recent years to include the use of laser scanning microscopes for the rapid in-process inspection of complex microscope components. Here, we have developed extremely demanding image analysis algorithms that can be used to analyze microscopic structures in real time. In collaboration with a manufacturer of automation systems, we have also been able to deliver complete in-process inspection equipment to a producer of microfluidic components for medical applications. A total of eight systems from Fraunhofer IPM are now employed by the company and are responsible for inspecting all of the 40 million plus parts manufactured each year.