Attention Existing MeX Customers! Version 6.1 is now available. Remember, all MeX-Professional and MeX-Standard customers with a valid service contract, receive free upgrades! To renew an expired service contract and get the 6.1 upgrade, see options MS-200 and MS-250 in our ordering table below to see what is right for you.
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MeX turns any SEM into a 3D measurement device
MeX is a stand alone software package that turns any scanning electron microscope (SEM) with digital imaging into a true surface metrology device. Using stereoscopic images the software automatically retrieves 3D information and presents a highly accurate, robust and dense 3D dataset which is then used to perform traceable metrology examination. The results are obtained irrespective of the SEM magnification providing metrology at macro and micro levels...
The software is self installing and is extremely easy to use. The modular design of the package allows flexibility in use; it also permits users, with a single repetitive task to perform, to purchase modules according to requirements. The analysis modules allow measurement of profile, roughness, area, volume and height. All measurements are traceable, can be calibrated and conform to ISO standards.
The performance of MeX has been proved by many customers in leading companies and universities throughout the world providing imaging and analysis previously unobtainable with SEM images.
Robust and highly accurate at any magnification
The core of MeX is formed by its innovative 3D reconstruction algorithms. The research and development team of Alicona Imaging have invented methods that generate highly accurate, dense and robust results. This unique performance becomes obvious in images of complex structures with steep edges and drop offs in addition to demanding samples with low texture and signal-to-noise-ratio. This high quality is achieved irrespective of image magnification.
Automatic measurement yields automatic calibration
Conventional approaches rely on the use of two images. This comes with the major drawback that the overall accuracy of the 3D measurement is partly dependent on the accurate reading of the tilt angle. It is also commonly known that this reading maybe error-prone and can only be achieved to a certain level of accuracy. Latest developments of Alicona have extended this stereoscopic approach to a third image. As a result the user defined parameters, such as the tilt angle, are automatically calculated. This omits the influence of the user and allows, for the first time, traceable 3D measurement in the SEM.
Comprehensive depth analysis
The uniqueness of MeX is in its accuracy and robustness. But in order to perform appropriate measurements, beyond conventional visualization, analysis following international standards must be available. In MeX, the easy to use, roughness and area analysis are provided to EN/ISO standards. Measurements are performed directly on the SEM image. Printing and exporting the actual representations of an image are a one-click operation. The visual link between the surface and the image enable precise and flexible measurements. Even volumetric analysis is conveniently feasible. Therefore MeX is the only software package that turns a SEM into a true 3D metrology device.
Easy to use, easy to install
No additional hardware is necessary to run MeX. As a pure software solution MeX can be operated with any SEM requiring only images in common formats. The software is self-installing and works completely independently of any third party drivers or components. The user interface of the overall package is very user friendly and self-explanatory. Data is obtained quickly and effectively. A wizard guides the user through the reconstruction process which then automatically converts the information to a 3D data set. The consecutive analysis is again intuitive and the user is not confronted with unnecessary functionality. The user finds exactly what is expected from a 3D metrology package.
How does MeX work?
The image formation process in the SEM is based on perspective projection. Similar to a conventional light microscope the three dimensional object is projected onto a two dimensional image plane and information about the third dimension is lost. Note, the large depth of focus in SEM provides full depth of focus images, but does not allow to measure depth. Only two dimensional measurements in the image plane are feasible.
An eucentric tilting of the stage, meaning that the intersection of the primary electron beam with the specimen define the centre of tilting, yield a second image of the specimen observed form a different viewpoint. A so called stereoscopic image is generated. Overlay techniques such as red-green coloring provide anaglyph viewing and thus depth perception but again no quantitative analysis. The leading technology of Alicona now automatically identifies points in each of the images that belong to the same point on the specimen. From theses so called homologous points the true three dimensional coordinates of the observed point can be recovered. This demanding task is robustly solved for each pixel in each of the images and thus a dense 3D model of the specimen is obtained. An additional third image captured from a third tilt position allows to automatically refine given calibration data. Thus traceable results are obtained.
Verification through height measurement
Height measurements with the AutoCalibration can be verified using a micro-contour-artefact that is calibrated by the PTB (Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig). The depth measurement standard from the PTB contains grooves of different depth (from 240nm to 50µm).
- The unique AutoCalibration works fully automatically. Alicona is the only supplier able to offer this technology.
- MeX is the only real metrology package that allows numerically accurate measurements independent on the magnification.
- MeX allows extended analysis features such as ISO conform roughness analysis and extended form analysis.
PTB Stereo Creator Auto Calib 24.04µm ±0.07µm 25.3µm 24.10µm
Measurement results in comparison
Stereo Creator -9,5° 9,5° Auto Calib -10,05° 10,00°
Angle refinement with AutoCalibration
Please note, this is for information only. This standard is not purchasable from Alicona.
Verification through radius measurement
Measurements of the pure software solution MeX can be verified using a micro-contour-artefact that is calibrated by the PTB (Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig).
The artefact contains different regions including steep flanks, height steps and cylindrical elements.
The following measurements can be verified:
- Circle measurements
- Steep flanks
- Depth measurements
PTB> Stereo Creator Auto Calib 80µm ± 2µm 75.11µm 81,14µm
Comparison of circle measurements
Stereo Creator -10° 10° Auto Calib -10,86° 11,01°
2D Image Analysis
The 2D image analysis allows the performance of manual and semi automatic measurement of simple primitives. Also, the ability to write on the images as well as saving measurement results in a comprehensive and easy to use database is provided.
- Manual measurement of lines, parallel lines, arcs, circles, ellipses, polygons, polylines, freehand, marker
- Automatic measurement of lines, parallel lines, circles, arcs
- Statistical calculation of results such as mean, standard deviation, minimum, maximum, median
- Automatic search of equally shaped structures on the image
Area analysis provides the determination of Ra, Rq and Rz. Parameters like roughness, waviness and the fractal dimension of user defined surface patches are achieved. The user defines a region of interest such as a rectangle or polygon and MeX automatically calculates the values. For the visual representation of the surface a grey scale or pseudo colored depth map can be used. It is also possible to display ISO-lines to highlight depth variations.
- Calculation of surface parameters like Sa, Sq, Sz, Sp, Sv
- Calculation of fractal dimension
- Extraction of horizontal and vertical profiles
- Filtering of profiles
- Calculation of mean of the primary, roughness and waviness values of the horizontal and vertical profile
- Calculation of the primary, roughness and waviness parameter of the mean horizontal and vertical profile
- Calculation of bearing ratio curve
- Calculation of bearing area curve
Height & Roughness Measurement
Profile measurement enables virtual cutting of specimen. The user defines a path on the optical image and receives the corresponding 3D profile. Roughness and contour measurements conform to recognized EN ISO 4287/4288 international standards. The profile analysis also allows the fitting of primitives such as circles, angles or others. Further, manual and semi automatic measurement possibilities are provided.
- Profile extraction with different width
- Filtering of the profile with selectable Lc value with ISO 4288 conformity information
- Manual cursor measurement
- Automatic measurements of lines, parallel lines, single height steps, double height steps, ISO 5436 conform height steps, angles, 2 line angles and circles
- ISO 4287 conform calculation of the following primary parameters: Pa, Pq, Pz, Pp, Pv, Pc, PSm, Psk, Pku, Pdk
- ISO 4287 and ISO 11562 conform calculation of the following roughness parameters: Ra, Rq, Rz, Rp, Rv, Rc, RSm, Rsk, Rku, Rdk
- ISO 4287 conform calculation of the following waviness parameters: Wa, Wq, Wz, Wp, Wv, Wc, WSm, Wsk, Wku, Wdk
- Calculation of fourier spectrum of profiles
- Calculation of bearing ratio curve
- Calculation of statistical parameters of profiles
Volume analysis calculates the volume of voids and protrusions. The measurement area is defined directly on the optical image. The volume is determined throughout the computation of a soap film model. For the 3D-boundary of the selected area MeX calculates a covering surface that behaves like a soap film.
- Selectable area for volume measurement
- Selectable reference surface (plane, minimum spanning surface, top and bottom cover)
- Automatic calculation of reference plane from 3D points
If required, a component can be measured in 3D from different perspectives. Measurements from various positions are automatically merged into a complete 3D data set. The "Real3D" technology allows the component's visualization from different angles plus a measurement of contour, difference to e.g. measure wear, and form. This way, surface parameters such as undercuts that are normally difficult to access are measured quickly and effortlessly.
- Contour Measurement – Users measure angles, distances, circles, incircles, circumcircles, thread pitch etc. from every position. In addition, the contour measurement module includes roundness measurement.
- Difference Measurement – Difference measurement is used to numerically compare two different geometries.
- Form Measurement – Automatic fitting of spheres, cones and cylinders allow the visualization and form measurement of tools and other components.
Contour, difference and form measurement complement already existing measurement modules:
- Profile-Form Measurement Height steps, radii, angle measurement etc.
- Profile-Roughness Measurement Ra, Rq, Rz accordant to ISO 4287, 4288
- Surface Texture Measurement Areal roughness measurement accordant to ISO 25178
- Volume Measurement Verification of voids and protrusions
- 2D Image Analysis: Manual or semi automatic measurement of simple primitives
Every gun leaves distinctive marks and traces on the bullet cartridge and projectile, similar to fingerprints. These traces on a gun, found at a crime scene, can be instrumental to prove guilt of suspects. Conventional methods are based on the analysis of 2D images to identify which bullet has been fired from which weapon. However, the 3D visualization and measurement of the firing pin and cartridge indentation is far more precise. It is here that MeX offers unique capabilities providing a highly accurate, dense and robust 3D reconstruction with full depth of focus taken over a large field of view. Using MeX a user can, for example, measure the volume of a firing pin impression along with profile that can be related directly to the firing pin. This leads to a numerical evaluation independent from any subjective point of view, providing rapid and understandable analytical data for interpretation.
Evaluation of MeX
Please contact Electron Microscopy Sciences for an evaluation of the MeX Software. We can setup an account on the Alicona web site for the evaluation.
How To Upload and View Al3d Datasets in Alicona Demonstration Software Sets Requirements for Sample Images for Mex 3D Software MeX Requirements (pdf format) MeX 6.1 improvements (pdf format)
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