Optical test systems and diagnostics

3D volume image of a wasp head with optical coherence tomography.

2D and 3D imaging


Optical tomography of transparent and transluscent (semi-transparent) materials and components is an essential tool for quality assurance in production processes or for the evaluation of material quality.

3D volume imaging can be used for, e.g. the detection of defects below the surface, the determination of layer thicknesses, or for the control of dimensional accuracy of components. From 3D imaging data, the surface structure can be generated at any time, independent of the measuring object’s transparency. Automation of 2D and 3D imaging and integration into process flows constitutes a strength of Fraunhofer IKTS.


Mechanical strain field in a silicon wafer.

Determination of material parameters


By means of optical methods, the determination of material parameters can be carried out fast and contact-free. Thanks to novel technologies, there are nearly no restrictions concerning examinable material classes. By using technologies of Fraunhofer IKTS, the following parameters are accessible, among others: mechanical strain, hardness, porosity, chemical composition, local sample temperatures, temperature history of components, dose of electron or gamma irradiation.


Optically active gold particles provide information on material condition and processes in their surroundings.

Optical micro- and nanostructures


Optically active micro- and nanostructures can provide information by light emission on material conditions and processes in their surroundings. Examples of materials used at Fraunhofer IKTS are ceramic luminescent materials, plasmonically-active metal structures, or nanodiamonds. Due to their size, these objects are compatible with many systems difficult to test so far, such as composite materials, opaque polymers, joints and adhesive bondings, biological tissue, and cells. Micro- and nanostructure-based optical testing is fast, non-invasive and contact-free.


Systems and process integration


Integration of test systems into production and manufacturing processes is a world-wide trend in industry, which will increase strongly in the future. This industry 4.0 trend is addressed by Fraunhofer IKTS particularly in the field of optical measurement and test technology by transferring typical laboratory processes, e.g. from the area of spectroscopy, to the industrial environment in a robust and reliable way. For this process, Fraunhofer IKTS produces various reference solutions.


Analog and digital systems for signal processing for advanced test electronics.

Signal processing, programming and electronics set-up


In the conception and construction of advanced test electronics, Fraunhofer IKTS focuses on analog and digital systems for high-speed signal processing. Analog circuits are developed, calculated and simulated. Microcontroller as well as highly complex FPGAs are programmed and implemented in EMC-suitable printed circuit board designs according to IPC. Special expertise is available in FPGA design (Xilinx ISE, VIVADO) for digital signal processing, PC interfaces, sequence control, memory interfaces as well as simulation of FPGA designs with Modelsim and microcontroller/DSP programming. In the in-house electronics laboratory, prototypes can be built, programmed and tested, having available a complete SMD prototyping facility and comprehensive test equipment.