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Surface Metrology Research Group

Clean room


The University Queensgate campus is friendly and welcoming with facilities and departments contained on one town centre campus site close to all the local services, shops, student accommodation and transport.

Our lecture rooms and laboratories are fitted out and equipped to a high technological standard and specialist equipment and software is provided to individual researchers or to project teams as and when required. In addition, all of our full-time research students are provided with high quality office space and computing resources.

The Centre for Precision Technologies (CPT) is based around a unique 'nanolab' facility and a well equipped machine tool research laboratory. The nanolab allows the CPT researchers to carry out true nanoscale metrology and work on components as diverse as silicon wafers and orthopaedic implants.

At the heart of the investment in the CPT are three sophisticated laboratories. Each is equipped with the state-of-the-art instrumentation and machinery including an atomic force microscope, scanning electron microscope, optical interferometer, CCI optical profiler, stylus based form and surface texture instruments and precision scale coordinate measuring machine. In addition, there is a manufacturing cell comprising two diamond-turning machines with a loading robot, a CNC super-polishing machine, washing facilities and metrology station.

The Centre has a modern nano-metrology laboratory having a specialised design for vibration minimisation. The lab is temperature controlled to ±0.5°C or better and is a class 10,000 clean room. Current equipment includes: advanced stylus instruments, optical interference microscopes and atomic force microscopes used for characterising micro and nano scale surface topography; precision co-ordinate measurement machines, two Nanoform 250 diamond turning machines and a novell CNC ultra precision surface polishing machine.

The clean room air handling capability is 30 changes per hour. The air flow system is a turbulent flow pattern blown from ceiling mounted grills and ducted out to the air handing plant through floor and wall mounted return ducts. The room is given a positive pressure 20-40 Pa to ensure particles are evacuated through exits and also prevents particles from entering the laboratories. All of the air is supplied to the laboratory through High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. Two of the three contain specialised vibration minimisation facilities, achieved through the pneumatic mounting of the working zones.

In addition to the state-of-the-art clean room facility, the Centre also strives to develop novel surface measurement instrumentation which pushes the scientific boundaries of what can already be achieved. This takes a multi disciplinary team of mechanical and electrical engineers, designers, materials scientists, mathematicians, computer hardware and software developers.

Recently, with the University and UK industrial support, a new advance optical lab in the nano-metrology laboratory has been setup to pursue further research on on-line measurement techniques for surface metrology.

Facilities and equipment description

Form Talysurf Series PGI

The Form Talysurf Series PGI has been designed to meet the varied and changing needs of industry. A choice of traverse units, software and accessories allow high precision surface finish and form measurements to be made on small, large or complex components, for laboratory design analysis or production batch measurements.

The nanometric resolution throughout its 10mm (0.4in) gauge range makes the PGI the most powerful gauging system available on any form and surface texture instrument.

A significant benefit of Form Talysurf Series PGI is system programmability which enables measurement in X, Y and Z axis (Y axis optional), analysis and results output to be made automatically, without operator intervention.

Applications within the group cover a huge range and include medical devices, steel sheet, automotive products, dies, textured glass, paint, skin and many more

Manufacturer: Taylor-Hobson Ltd

Key specifications:

  • Vertical Range : 10mm
  • Lateral Resolution: 0.25um over 120mm range
  • Vertical Resolution: 12.8nm


Somicronic Surfascan 3D

The SOMICRONIC SURFASCAN 3D is the flexible, PC-based evaluation unit for measurement of Roughness, Topography and Contours. It is a high performance, high precision evaluation device to operate within tough workshop conditions, and easy to use and insures fast and precise measuring results. The modular combination of standard components allow user to prepare an optimally suited solution for roughness, topography and/or contour measurement.

Manufacturer: SOMICRONIC

Key features:

  • Vertical Range : 3mm
  • Lateral Resolution: 2um to 58 um over 80-80mm range
  • Vertical Resolution: 6nm


Talysurf CCI 3000

Talysurf CCI 3000 is the most accurate optical 3D surface profiler available today. It combines the surface imaging quality of a microscope with the accurate measuring capability of a conventional surface profiling instrument.

Talysurf CCI 3000 is a non-contact areal measurement system that uses coherence correlation interferometry technology. It is able to complete a measurement with over 1 million data points in less than 10 seconds with a resolution of 0.01nm (0.1).

The CCI is currently being applied to machined parts, medical devices, advanced materials, precision surfaces, paper and automotive applications.

Manufacturer: Taylor-Hobson Ltd

Key features:

  • 3D surface profiling with high accuracy
  • Coherence Correlation Interferometer is non-contact and non-destructive
  • suitable for profile peaks between 1nm and 100um in height
  • 0.01nm resolution
  • high speed data aquisition and analysis


Wyko NT2000 Optical Profiler (Special upgraded)

This Wyko NT 2000 optical profiler combines non-contact interferometry with advanced automation for highly accurate, 3D surface topography measurements. The NT2000 rapidly measures heights from 0.3 nm to 2 millimeters, with vertical resolution as high as 0.3 nm. The instrument can be operated in PSI or VSI mode and covers applications from ultra precise smooth surfaces to general engineering surfaces

The NT2000 provides accurate surface details for machined parts, medical devices, advanced materials, precision surfaces and automotive applications.

Manufacturer: Veeco

Key specifications:

  • Vertical Range : PSI 160nm and VSI 500um (Height change between two adjacent points)
  • Lateral Resolution: depend on the choosing magnification objective and the detector array size.
  • Vertical Resolution: (the values are in terms of Rq)
  • Single Measurement: PSI with 0.3nm and VSI with 3nm
  • Multiple Measurements (Averaged): PSI with 0.3nm and VSI with <1nm


Dimension 3100 AFM

The Dimension 3100 brings together all major SPM techniques in a single, platform that handles a wide range of sample sizes and types. It supports all atomic force (AFM) and scanning tunneling (STM) scanning modes, including DI's patented TappingModeT technique that protects the samples from damage, the DI's PhaseImagingT technology that maps differences in surface characteristics and composition, and Magnetic Force Microscopy (MFM) with LiftModeT to separate magnetic and topographic data.

The Dimension 3100's rigid, low vibration construction ensures the highest quality images and measurements - Applications have included medical devices, Semiconductor surfaces, sheet metal and automotive bore surfaces.

Manufacturer: Digital Instrument

Key specifications:

  • Sample Size: Up to 150mm diameter (up to 200mm with optional chuck); Up to 12mm thick (adapters available for thicker samples)
  • Optical Microscope: 150m to 675m horizontal viewing area; Resolution 1.5m
  • Resolution: x,y: <1nm x,y in closed loop measured at 100nm scan size
  • size z: z-sensor ~0.8nm typical, 0.2nm under optimal conditions; standard z-voltage <0.1nm


Nanoform 250

Nanoform 250 is a versatile, two-axis, aspheric contouring machine with real-time operating system designed for single point diamond turning, grinding, linear grooving and precision machining.

Manufacturer: Taylor-Hobson Ltd

Key features:

  • Capable of diamond turning optical quality form and finish in a wide range of non-ferrous metals, crystals and polymers.
  • Optional high speed grinding attachment for direct grinding of small lens molds in non-diamond machinable materials such as metals and ceramics.
  • Versatile, multi-axis
  • Hydrostatic oil bearing slideway design with linear motor technology
  • Large capacity, heavy duty production spindle
  • nm resolution linear glass scale feedback
  • nm programming resolution


IRP-200/A11 super-polishing machine

The Zeeko IRP-200/A11 is one of a range of next-generation CNC machines with an entirely new approach to the polishing of simple or of complex optical surfaces. In less than two years, these machines have established a deserved reputation in the world of high precision polishing.

The machine employs an advanced and sophisticated control system that makes use of metrology data to achieve extremely high levels of accuracy and surface finish.

Driven by a new generation of intelligent software and capable of moving in multiple axes, the adaptive polishing head allows components to be manufactured to a precision never before predictably attained. The machine combines a series of leading edge technologies that make it possible to manufacture a new generation of lenses, mirrors and other high precision surfaces.

Manufacturer: Zeeko

Key features:

  • the adaptive pressure-tool that automatically "tunes" to local surface errors
  • the unique "Precessions" control software providing multi-directional polishing for superb surface texture.

Within the group the Zeeko machine is currently being used to polish medical devices including hard on hard hip and knee systems


Toccata CMM

Conventional touch trigger probing with Renishaw TP20 and constant contact scanning with the Renishaw SP600 analogue probe, combining rapid data collection with high accuracy.

  • Verified to ISO 10360 with UKAS Accreditation.
  • Innovative Design with Vee-flat Guide and twin master beams.
  • High accuracy non error mapped due to manufacturing excellence.
  • Renishaw UCC1 CNC controller for both present and future probe options.
  • Machine sizes from 5.4.3 model (X=500mm Y=400mm Z=300mm) to 10.6.5.model (X=1000mm Y=600mm Z=500mm).

Manufacturer: Eley Metrology

Last updated Thursday 3 April 2014
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