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4D Technology Corporation, manufacturer of optical metrology systems, has introduced the FlexCam metrology module.

The FlexCam is a compact, high resolution 3D metrology system for in situ roll-to-roll measurement of flexible electronics. FlexCam modules provide sub-nanometer vertical resolution and micrometer-scale lateral resolution for in-process roughness and defect quantification for measurement of substrates, barrier films and intermediate layers.

Surface roughness and defects affect the longevity of components deposited on flexible substrates and greatly affect barrier film properties. FlexCam enables real-time monitoring and control of roughness to less than 0.5nm rms, both inclusive of and exclusive of defects on the film. The system provides accurate measurement despite vibration, runout, web flutter, and other effects which can vary the relative location of the substrate with respect to the measurement system.

FlexCam also identifies and quantifies defects, registering their position within the roll. Multiple defect statistics are calculated including area, volume, depth and slope, with user-selectable pass/fail criteria as each metric can have adverse effects on barrier or end device performance. Extrinsic versus intrinsic defects can be discriminated to help isolate their root cause. Where bright-field inspection systems are sensitive to the backside of the film as well as the roller surface, 4D’s FlexCam is immune to such effects, measuring only the top surface.

A FlexCam module provides thousands of times more areal coverage than off-line bright-field or 3D microscopes. Each FlexCam module can provide 100% inspection in the machine direction for web speeds up to 1 m/minute. Modules can also be arrayed across a web, offering as little or as much sampling in the transverse direction as required.

Each module processes all data on-board, calculating and reporting statistics in real-time, for
incredible processing speed. In production mode, simple controls and pass/fail criteria make it easy to
monitor the process. In engineering mode, 2D analyses, statistics and visualization tools help you
quickly dial in process parameters and examine individual defects with high fidelity.