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USB3.0 Line Scan Camera sets new standards for speed

USB-3.0-Zeilenkamera setzt neue Geschwindigkeitsmaßstäbe

The wide range of line scan cameras by Schäfter+Kirchhoff for industrial use includes monochrome line scan cameras with 512 to 8160 pixels as well as color line scan cameras with up to 3x7600 pixels.

The color line scan cameras with triple-line-sensors have proven to be very useful for high-resolution surface inspection e.g. in the wood and print industry. It is complemented by the new camera type SK22368GTOC-LA with 3×7456 pixels and a pixel size of 4.7×4.7 µm². The short sensor length of 35 mm allows choosing from a wide range of adequate objective lenses. The pixel frequency of this GigE color line scan camera is 120 MHz, maximum line frequency is 5,1 kHz.

For mobile applications the new lines scan camera type SK22500U3NEC-XC sets new standards concerning speed of data transfer for color line scan cameras. Its pixel frequency of 200 MHz reaches a speed-level that could only be achieved by line scan cameras with CameraLink interface before.

All GigE and USB3.0 line scan cameras by Schäfter+Kirchhoff profit from the new all 64-Bit SDK, even the cameras with monochrome sensors. Besides libraries and examples it includes new functions e.g. for loading ICC-profiles, ensuring color fidelity for image acquisition. Integration into LabVIEW is supported using a VI-library.

World’s first USB 3.0 Line Scan Camera

Weltweit erste USB 3.0 Zeilenkamera

As a traditional manufacturer of line scan cameras Schäfter+Kirchhoff introduce their new USB 3.0 line scan camera series. The range of these USB Superspeed line scan cameras includes monochrome, color or TDI sensors with 512 to 8160 pixels (monochrome) or up to 3×7600 pixels (RGB). Pixel frequencies of up to 210 MHz allow for high speed high resolution image acquisition for scan and measurement applications. The use of modern technologies makes these cameras very low in noise. Using connectors with screw locks and the robust casing ensures full suitability for industrial applications. A Precise triggering of the image acquisition is achieved using the I/O ports.

The standardized USB 3.0 interface makes these cameras very easy to integrate into existing systems, while ensuring low system costs.

Drivers and a SDK with libraries and examples are supplied for customer programming. Integration into LabVIEW is supported using a VI-library. The software runs under Windows 7 (x64).


  • Surface inspection of wood, paper web, foils, metals, minerals und ores;
  • Edge pursuit, position control, measurement of diameters and gaps.

Low noise laser lines with reduced coherence length

Rauscharme Linienlaser mit reduzierter Kohärenzlänge

The new LNC-series low noise laser diode modules from Schäfter+Kirchhoff have reduced power noise, reduced coherence length and low speckle contrast (dependent on the measurement configuration) as a result of internal RF-modulation. The low noise (< 1% RMS, <1 MHz) and the mode-hopping free laser operation makes them ideal for particle measurements or advanced medical and biotechnological applications.

Laser diodes tend to show mode hopping, causing power noise and wavelength changes. To reduce mode hopping and power noise, Schäfter+Kirchhoff stimulates the low noise laser diode sources of the LNC-series to emit many modes simultaneously. That results in stable emitting conditions with reduced power noise (< 0.1% RMS) and reduced coherence length (<300µm).

The LNC-series low noise laser line generators are available in the wavelength range from 370 to 1550 nm. They are encased in rugged full-metal housings with integrated control and power electronics as well as connections for external modulation. Besides laser lines, that are available as micro lines (narrow lines with a Gaussian intensity profile across the laser line) and macro lines (at same working distance 2 to 5-times wider, depth of focus 7 to 35-times larger), Schäfter+Kirchhoff also offers low noise micro focus generators and laser diode collimators.


Laser line generators with computer interface for optical 3D measurement technology, production and quality control

Schäfter+Kirchhoff has developed and produced laser beam sources for over 25 years for use in basic research, in gas analysis, particle measurement, biotechnology, medical and space technology, as well as in automated quality inspection in industry. The laser line generators and other laser sources are now available with computer interfaces.

The laser diode beam sources cover the 370–2750 nm spectral range and are available in an industrial-grade metal housing, with integrated power and control inputs, and now also a computer interface. The RS232 or USB interface provides full control over the the laser power and allows the laser to be interrogated for its quality control and lifetime statistics, for download and storage. The hours of operation and the current consumption provide essential information about the possible degradation of the diode, allowing maintenance work or replacement to be planned accordingly. The electronics allows simultaneous digital (up to 250 kHz) and analog (10 Hz) modulation

Schäfter+Kirchhoff offers both laser micro and laser macro line generators, with the required laser line patterns generated using special optics, according to the particular application. The thin laser micro lines have a Gaussian intensity profile vertical to the line, while the wider macro line generators produce laser lines 2–5 wider times over the same working distance, but with an extended depth of focus (7 to 35-times more than that of the corresponding micro line).

Fiber Coupler with fine-focussing mechanism

Faserkoppler mit Feinfokussier-Mechanismus

The fiber coupler of type 60FC-F-… are characterized by a fine focusing mechanism using a knurled ring and fine thread as opposed to an eccentric key used for collimation of the standard collimators 60FC. The easy and highly defined adjustment of the focal setting ensures high coupling efficiencies even when the divergence or the wavelength of the laser source used varies.

The collimating lens in the fiber coupler 60FC-F is spring-loaded and is axially adjusted using a knurled ring and a thread with 0.5 mm pitch. A linear bearing ensures that the lens does not rotate when adjusting the focus - providing a high level of pointing stability. The focus setting can finally be locked using indirect clamping.

Fiber couplers of type 60FC-F are available with several focal lengths and a variety of coatings with paraaxial (FC-PC) or inclined coupling axis (FC-APC). They extend the wide range of fiber optic products offered by Schäfter+Kirchhoff including laser beam couplers, polarization-maintaining singlemode fibers, fiber optic beam splitters, vacuum feed-throughs or special collimators e.g. with integrated quarter wave plate or fiber collimators designed for SMA-905 high power connectors.

[further information]

Amagnetic Fiber Connectors, laser beam couplers and fiber collimators

Amagnetische Faserstecker, Laserstrahlkoppler und Faserkollimatoren

Schäfter+Kirchhoff now offers amagnetic fiber connectors (type FC) for polarization-maintaining fibers made completely out of titanium (including the spring) except from the ferrule, which is made from ceramics. This ensures that the relative permeability µr of the connector is near 1 (χ = 5•10-5), which makes it transparent relative to magnetic fields.

The homogeneity of a magnetic field or the flux lines and absolute value of the defined magnetic field used in the experiment or application is not perturbed by the fiber connector. Such highly defined magnetic fields are used for example in Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) experiments. Another application of amagnetic fiber optic components is the highly precise measurement of the magnetic field (magnetometer). Here, any perturbation of the magnetic field due to magnetic materials close to the set-up should be avoided since they cause disturbances in the magnitude of the determined magnetic field.

The amagnetic fiber connectors are available as type FC-APC or FC-PC. They are offered for singlemode or polarization-maintaining as well as multimode fiber cables and are also supplied for vacuum feed-throughs, casing feed-throughs and fiber optic beamsplitters. They extend the range of titanium fiber optic components offered by Schäfter+Kirchhoff including laser beam couplers and fiber collimators.

New, very light sensitive RGB color line scan cameras

Neue, sehr lichtempfindliche RGB-Farbzeilenkameras

The new, very light-sensitive color line scan cameras SK22800GJRC-XC and SK22800VJRC-XC are equipped with 3 × 7600  pixels (RGB) and include a Gigabit Ethernet interface. The maximum fixel frequency is 120 MHz, the maximum line rate is 4.93 kHz. A third new model, SK22800CJRC-XC is connected via Camera Link to a frame grabber and controlled by it. Pixel frequencies up to 150 MHz (3 × 50 MHz) allow line rates of 6.17 kHz.

The first mentioned camera is programmed with a proprietary software development kit (SDK), the second can be controlled with any GigE Vision compliant software, while the third camera is programmed via the SDK of the grabber manufacturer.

Applications are particularly the high-resolution surface inspection, e.g. in the wood and printing industries.


Lasers for Nanometrology

Laser für die Nanomesstechnik

Laser diode beam sources of type 51nanoFCM-… have reduced power noise, reduced coherence length and low speckle contrast as a result of the internal RF modulation. The laser diode beam source 51nanoFCM-… is typically used for atomic force microscopie (AFM) and as a pilot laser during alignment applications.

In addition to the reduced power noise, reduced coherence length and low speckle contrast of the laser diode beam source 51nanoFCM-…, the 51nanoFI-… features an integrated Faraday Isolator to protect laser sources from back reflection („optical diode“). Radiation coupled back to a laser diode leads to mode hopping, noise, frequency instability, and decrease of lifetime. more...

Fiber Connectors with End Caps

Faseranschlüsse mit End Cap

The maximum optical power that can be transmitted by a singlemode fiber is limited by a number of limiting effects, including Brillouin scattering and the tweezer effect.

A limiting feature of the fiber cable is the fiber end-face, which can be destroyed by optical power that is too high. The maximum power rating depends not only on the cleanliness of the fiber end-face [A] but also on the power density at the fiber end-face.

Schäfter+Kirchhoff now offers fiber cables with end caps, where the fiber is terminated by a core-less fiber approx. 300 µm long [B]. Within this section, the radiation is not guided and it diverges to about 10 times the fiber mode field diameter.

The power density at the fiber endface is diminished by a factor of 100. The numerical aperture of a fiber is not affected by an end cap. The fibers with end caps are assembled in an identical manner to the standard fiber connectors of type FC-APC and, so, can be used with all 60SMS-1-4-… laser beam couplers and 60FC-x-4-… fiber collimators from Schäfter+Kirchhoff.

End Cap Order Options

End Caps on both ends:
APC/ECFC-APC connectors with end caps on both sides
OPC/ECFC-PC connectors with end caps
XPC/ECone end FC-APC, other end FC-PC, both with end cap
End Cap on one end:
APC-APC/ECFC-APC connectors with end cap on one side
APC-OPC/ECone end FC-APC, other end FC-PC with end cap
OPC-APC/ECone end FC-PC, other end FC-APC with end cap
OPC-OPC-ECFC-PC connectors with end cap on one side

Polarization Analyzer for fiber optic and free beam applications

Polarisationsanalysator für Faseroptik und Freistrahlanwendungen

The series SK010PA polarization analyzer is a comprehensive universal measurement and test system for free beam applications and fiber-coupled laser radiation.

It is a plug&play device and connects to the USB port of a standard computer. Alignments and measurements are performed rapidly. A real-time interactive display shows the state of polarization on a Poincaré sphere and on a polarization ellipse as well as the degree of polarization. Special routines that determine the polarization extinction ratio of fiber-coupled sources allow the evaluation of the alignment of polarization-maintaining fibers for sources with high and low coherence.

For free beam applications a certain state of polarization can be set using the polarization analyzer, e.g. of circularly polarized beams, that can be generated using fiber collimators with manually adjustable integrated quarter-wave plates.

The polarization analyzer is compatible with the microbench/cage system. The standard delivery includes the software as well as a fiber adapter for FC-APC connectors. Other connector adapters and/or microbench adapters for different diameter optics can also be supplied.

The polarization analyzer is available for various wavelength ranges (UV: 375-450nm, UVIS: 400-700nm, VIS: 450-800nm, NIR: 700-1100nm, IR: 1100-1660nm). The compact design of SK010PA, with the communication and power supply via USB 2.0, enables its easy integration within existing systems. It completes the fiber optic products offered by Schäfter+Kirchhoff including fiber-coupled laser sources, laser beam couplers, fiber collimators, polarization-maintaining fibers and vacuum feed-throughs.

For more information and a product video please see:


On the track of corrosion

On the track of corrosion

Rapid, objective and reliable evaluation and documentation of corrosion test plates

"Corrosion Inspector" is a color scanner system for objective evaluation of filiform and other types of corrosion phenomena, developed by the Hamburg company Schäfter + Kirchhoff. more...

Source: Application Report

Telecentric Imaging with Line Scan Cameras

Telecentric Imaging with Line Scan Cameras

High resolution imaging and width measurement of stents

Line scan cameras are semiconductor cameras used in many industrial environments. Their main advantages, compared to matrix cameras, include high optical resolution and speed, the ability to synchronize each line, and the freedom to produce an image of almost unrestricted length.

Images for round, or espceially cylindrical objects such as stents can be acquired by rotating the test sample below the camera. For the quality control of a stent, a high resolution image of the stent surface structure and an accurate measurement of the stent structure ridge width are essential. For this measurement task, a telecentric lens can often increase measurement accuracy significantly even further.

Source: Optik & Photonik, Volume 12, Issue 3, June 2017, p. 49–52

Fibers with End Caps

Fibers with End Caps

While maintaining polarization, the application is extended to higher powers and photocontamination effects are avoided.

Fiber end caps are used to extend the range of applications into higher laser powers with singlemode and polarization-maintaining fibers. By applying different measures of quality control, it is shown that the original performance of the fibers is not diminished when end caps are applied.

Source: Physics' Best, April 2017, p. 2–5

Lasers for Atomic Force Microscopy

Lasers for Atomic Force Microscopy

Low noise fiber-coupled laser sources with reduced coherence

Over the last few decades, the interest in phenomena on nanoscale or even atomic scale has increased significantly. A prominent, but very demanding technique is Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). AFM can reveal surface topographies at atomic resolution or be used to measure small forces in the range of a few piconewtons. This technique requires highly stable laser sources with very specific features.

The 51nano series of lasers was specially developed to provide low noise, reduced coherence, and low speckle contrast in order to achieve the stability standards required in nanotechnology and atomic force measurements. Particle measurements and alignment tasks are other possible applications for these laser sources.

Source: Physics' Best, April 2016, p. 2–5

Laser Sources for Metrology and Machine Vision

Laser Sources for Metrology and Machine Vision

Laser diode based light sources are widely used for high precision measurement and inspection systems

Laser triangulation, also called laser light sectioning, is the most common appli cation of a laser line. It is a 3D measuring technique for determining a profile at a predefined incident section. The imaging camera is mounted directly perpendicular to the scanned object. It measures the lateral displacement and distortion of the incident laser line projected at an angle onto the object. The recorded camera image contains all of the height information obtained from the section defined by the incident laser beam, which is then decoded to provide the 3D height profile as the object passes through the laser line camera detection system. more...

Source: Optik & Photonik, Volume 11 Issue 2 (April 2016), p. 31–34

Weld Process Inspection

Weld Process Inspection

A visualization and monitor system for hot and molten metal processes such as welding and cutting

Welding in remote and hazardous conditions presents a demanding problem to the robotic systems developer, in particular if the process needs to be monitored in-situ. However, through proper application of a small suite of in-house optics and photonics technologies, Schäfter+Kirchhoff already has the solution to hand. more...

Source: Laser Technik Journal, June 2015, Volume 12, Issue 3, p. 63–65

Rapid Microstructure Analysis of Polar Ice Cores

Rapid Microstructure Analysis of Polar Ice Cores

Analyzing past climates using the Large Area Scan Macroscope

With climate change and its implications for society and the Earth being a frequent topic in both politics and science, measurable data on the influence of mankind on current and past climate has become essential information for making predictions and decisions about future climate.

The polar ice sheet provides information about temperature, precipitation as well as gas and aerosol concentration as a unique depiction of climate throughout hundreds of thousands of years. The information obtained from ice cores enables future climatic events as well as general material properties of ice to be better understood. The longest ice core drilled in Antarctica has a length of 3,270 m and contains climate information dating back more than 800,000 years.

The rapid analysis (minimum scan time 3 s) provided by the large area scan macroscope with a resolution of 5 μm has proven to be an essential tool for analyzing the microstructures of ice cores, both in the field and in the laboratory. A stratigraphic image that supports dating the ice cores can be obtained using Intermediate Layer Core Scanner. more...

Source: Optik & Photonik, Volume 10 Issue 2 (April 2015), p. 32–35

Polarization-maintaining Fiber Optics

Polarization-maintaining Fiber Optics

Stable fiber-optic setups from the ultraviolet to the infrared

A stable measurement setup is fundamental for any successful measurement. A major cause of frustration and error is the need to continuously readjust optomechanical equipment because of continuous instabilities. The use of fiber optics has proven to increase both stability and convenience significantly when compared with standard free-beam setups. These modular, complex and self-contained setups also often increase laser safety and reduce the laser safety classification.

The defined interface between a laser source and the more sensitive environment of the measurement setup provides the physical separation that enables a mechanical and thermal decoupling, suppressing mutually negative effects. more...

Source: Optik & Photonik – Volume 8, Issue 3, pages 40–44, December 2014

Opto-mechanics for demanding fiber optic applications

Opto-mechanics for demanding fiber optic applications

Titanium components ensure long-term stable fiber coupling at short wavelengths.

A stabile measurement setup is fundamental for the success of an experiment, e. g. in quantum optics. A major cause of frustration and error is the need to continuously readjust opto-mechanical equipment. By using fiber optics, both stability and convenience are significantly increased compared with standard breadboard setups. A fiber port cluster, for example, can split the radiation from one or more light sources and distribute it on several polarization-maintaining output fibers with high efficiency. The assurance of stability in the opto-mechanics means that the full focus can be set on the experiment (and not the equipment). more...

Source: Physik-Jornal, Physics' Best 2013, April 2013, p. 14–16

Polarization Analyzer for Fiber Optics and Free Beam Applications

Polarization Analyzer for Fiber Optics and Free Beam Applications

State of polarization measurement, precise alignment of polarization-maintaining fibers and accurate adjustment of arbitrary states of polarization

The state of polarization plays an integral role in many optical measurement techniques. The defined adjustment and setting of the polarization as well as its precise measurement often is fundamental to further success. The polarization analyzer was developed for the precise coupling of linearly polarized light into polarization-maintaining fibers as well as for the setting of a well-defined state of polarization in free beam applications. The compact design with communication and power supply via USB facilitates its easy incorporation into already existing setups, whether used as a mobile measuring device or permanently built into an industrial routine. more...

Source: Optik & Photonik – Volume 8, Issue 1, pages 54–57, April 2013

Line scan cameras for industrial image processing

Line scan cameras for industrial image processing

Practical uses in industry and research

A prerequisite for successful industrial image processing and automatic image analysis is the availability of a high quality image recording that is in focus, exhibits high contrast and is highly detailed. High image quality can only be achieved with the appropriate combination of line scan camera, high resolution lens, appropriate lighting and a precise motor unit, whether rotary or linear drive or a conveyer belt. more...

Source: Optik & Photonik, Volume7, Issue 3, October 2012, p. 49-52

Schäfter + Kirchhoff GmbH - specialists for optical sensors and measurement technology
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