Insights from industry

An Introduction to MIX Illumination for Industrial Microscopy

insights from industryRob BellingerProduct Applications Manager, Industrial Microscopes Evident 

Evident’s Rob Bellinger talks to AZoM about the  MIX illumination—a powerful and unique imaging feature on Evident industrial microscopes. In this interview, Rob explains what it is and how it improves the inspection workflow for semiconductors, flexible circuits, and other materials.  

What is MIX illumination?

MIX illumination is a feature exclusive to Evident optical microscope systems. The added MIX slider technology on our compound microscope frames enables the operator to visualize multiple imaging techniques at once.

What value does MIX illumination add to optical inspection?

Combining more than one observation technique can improve image contrast, enabling you to visualize different features on a sample that normally can’t be imaged together.

For example, sometimes on semiconductor patterns you need to view the surface detail with the brightfield imaging technique, but then to see contrast details of the pattern edges you need to use darkfield. Switching between these two methods enables you to see any potential issues on the sample.

When you use MIX illumination to view both observation methods, you can observe surface contrast and edge contrast at the same time. This unique capability can improve your workflow and help you detect issues more easily.

What observation methods can be combined using MIX illumination? 

By using the MIX slider on our BX™ or MX™ series microscopes, you can create a MIX illumination image that includes any combination of brightfield (regular, polarized, or fluorescence), darkfield, and transmitted lighting.

What types of materials can be enhanced using MIX illumination? What benefits will applications see from these enhanced materials?

Semiconductor samples, as mentioned before, benefit from a mix of brightfield and darkfield imaging.

Other materials include flexible circuits, where lighting can be mixed with both reflected and transmitted to generate a single MIX image, as well as circuit boards, which can use polarized brightfield lighting and darkfield MIX to enhance surfaces and edge detail.

MIX illumination can also improve imaging for many types of reflective surfaces where darkfield lighting can create more contrast and reduce glare.

Image Credit:Shutterstock/ Elena11

What equipment is needed to add MIX illumination to an Evident microscope?

For your standard compound microscope with brightfield and darkfield observation, adding MIX illumination only requires the MIX slider and controller. And our MX63 inspection microscope already has a built-in controller, making it even easier to add the MIX option.

Can predecessor models of an Evident microscope be upgraded with MIX illumination?

In most cases, the answer is yes. You can add a MIX slider and control box to models from a generation or two ago for Evident compound microscopes that use brightfield and darkfield options. However, some parts must be confirmed for compatibility, such as objective lenses.

What are some other advantages of MIX Illumination?

When you add the MIX slider to a compound microscope with brightfield and darkfield observation, you can also use a directional darkfield feature to control the individual quadrants of LED lights in the MIX slider.

This feature enables you to change the lighting angle to the sample surface 360 degrees around, giving you the ability to differentiate raised surfaces from depressions by creating shadow contrast.

If you upgrade to a digital system using Evident Stream™ image analysis software, you can also take advantage of the halation removal tool. This enables you to take multiple images at different directional darkfield angles and integrate them to remove any glare or halation from a highly reflective surface.

What do microscope images captured with MIX illumination look like?

Here are some example images of a flexible circuit captured using MIX illumination. Notice how you can see more sample details on the MIX images compared to the images acquired using only brightfield, darkfield, or transmitted lighting.

Brightfield / darkfield MIX illumination. Image Credit: Evident

Brightfield / darkfield / transmitted MIX illumination. Image Credit: Evident

Brightfield observation. Image Credit: Evident

Brightfield / transmitted MIX illumination. Image Credit: Evident

Darkfield observation. Image Credit: Evident

Darkfield transmitted MIX. Image Credit: Evident

Transmitted. Image Credit: Evident

Where can our readers go to find out more?

To learn more about MIX illumination and other Olympus microscope capabilities, visit or contact your Evident sales representative.

About Robert Bellinger

Robert Bellinger has been an Evident employee for 15 years. As Product Applications Manager, he provides application support for Evident industrial microscope systems in the US, Canada, and Latin America.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.


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