The rapid analysis provided by the Large
Area Scan Macroscope with a resolution of 5 μm has proven to be an essential tool for inspecting the microstructures of e.g. ice cores in the laboratory.
Time-consuming inspection using a microscope can be replaced by using the specially
developed Large Area Scan
Macroscope (LASM) with a monochrome Line Scan Camera.The Large Area Scan Macroscope consists of a Line Scan Camera, a high resolution lens as well as an illumination unit. The sample is imaged in reflection with a resolution of 5 μm (5080 dpi). The scanner has three motorized axes. The measuring width is 41 mm per pass with a maximum scan length of 600 mm. A second motorized axis allows up to 100 mm scan width by scanning the sample with three passes. The third motorized axis allows a comfortable focus setting on the image plane.
In order to capture the relevant microstructures, brightfield illumination is used. The light directed at the sample is reflected by surfaces parallel to the sensor. Light reflected from structured areas and edges is reflected away from the sensor and appears dark. Thus, also in the images obtained with this method, the grain boundaries appear as dark lines and gas inclusions appear as dark bubbles or spots.
Stable design with extended scan length
The scanner system is mounted on a granite plane that makes sure that the high resolution of 5 µm is accomplished for the complete, large scan width of 600 mm.
Undisturbed, High Quality
Images in Much Less Time
While for the image acquisition
technique using a conventional
microscope, thousands of images
have to be stitched to form a complete
picture, only two or three
scans are necessary using the Large
Area Scan Macroscope depending
on sample dimensions. This reduces
the imaging time considerably
and obviates the alignment and
matching of the many individual
images of these sections, which requires
significant computing time. Since the microscope method takes
a long time, for scanning ice cores, all images are additionally
taken with slightly different
contrast due to the ongoing sublimation
process, which also needs to
be corrected for. In order to stitch
the complete picture, the images
also have to be corrected for vignetting
Using the Large Area Scan
Microscope, a shading correction
done prior to scanning allows for
evenly illuminated images that
also do not show significant signs
of distortion due to an excellent
correction of the field of curvature.
Since only two or three images are
necessary to cover the whole sample
the time required for stitching is
One of many applications: Ice core inspection
The figure on the right shows the 600 mm scan of a longitudinal cut ice core sample.The grain boundaries (dark lines)
and pores from different time periodes can be analyzed in one scan. The scan takes about 6 minutes.
A stratigraphic image that supports dating the ice cores can be obtained using the Intermediate Layer Core Scanner (ILCS).
High resolution imaging in harsh environments
As the analysis of the microstructure needs to be done in the lab at low temperatures, the line scanners developped fo analyzing ice cores need to be stabile and insensitive to the harsh environment. The components used (mechanical, optical as well as electrical) are designed to work properly at temperatures down to -20°C. They are used in the lab, e.g. at AWI in Bremerhaven.
More information on microstructure mapping of ice cores can be found on https://www.awi.de/forschung/geowissenschaften/glaziologie/werkzeuge/microstructure-mapping.html.