The inVia™ Qontor® confocal Raman microscope is a flexible research-level system with exceptional real-time focus-tracking abilities. The system preserves all of the functions of Renishaw’s world-famous inVia Reflex™ microscope. In addition to this, it adds a range of usability features, including new, powerful LiveTrack™ focus-tracking technology.
With this microscope, users can examine samples with curved, uneven or rough surfaces.
- Keep the view of the sample in focus while surveying it under manual control
- Raman chemical images can be viewed in 3D, and the topography and the chemistry can be observed
- Surfaces that are uneven, rough, and curved can be Raman-mapped
- Focus is maintained throughout dynamic measurements, such as sample cooling/heating and during lengthy measurements when the environmental conditions vary
- Only a small amount or no sample preparation is needed
- Time-consuming surface pre-scan is not required
To maintain focus, LiveTrack unites accurate vertical motion control of the sample stage with latest optical technology. LiveTrack functions in both Raman acquisition modes and white-light video viewing, providing major benefits over other methods.
The key features of LiveTrack are listed below:
Focus is maintained in real-time as the sample:
- is moved according to user command
- is scanned during Raman data collection
- contracts or expands - e.g. due to a change in humidity or temperature
LiveTrack can be offset vertically, allowing Raman data to be collected at a predetermined height above or below the interface being tracked.
Raman-map uneven, rough, and curved surfaces
Using LiveTrack the user can obtain Raman data from rough surfaces. This helps to save time, and enables the chemical and physical state on the surface to be studied, instead of in the bulk.
As a Raman map advances, LiveTrack constantly fine-tunes the height of the sample to keep the sample in focus. The resulting data can be presented as 2D (‘top-down’) images or as 3D rotatable surfaces that convey both the topography and the chemical structure of the material.
In addition to mapping rough surfaces LiveTrack is also helpful with uneven or angled surfaces such as semiconductor wafers, which can be bowed. Even though the bowing may be very slight, without LiveTrack, it is sufficient enough to compromise high magnification Raman analysis.
LiveTrack can be applied on any interface across which there is a considerable difference in refractive index. This can be the surface interface between the air and a solid sample, but it can also be the edge between two different layers. The user can indicate an offset between the LiveTrack focus and the Raman focus, so that the Raman measurements can be modified for a predetermined distance above or below a surface.
LiveTrack saves the user’s time during white-light video viewing
Once the sample is placed on the microscope stage, it can be manually focused using the video viewer, and then LiveTrack can be activated. LiveTrack retains the focus as the trackball is used to move the stage in order to study the sample.
A significant amount of time is saved as the manual ‘move-focus-move’ functions are substituted with a simple ‘move’ function. The user can focus on the features of the sample, instead of continual refocusing.
Use with dynamic samples
LiveTrack helps to maintain sample focus, even when the height of the sample keeps altering due to temperature, humidity, or creep changes. It can function through optical windows, e.g. it can be used to maintain focus on a sample in a hot-cold stage throughout a sequence of measurements that are made during temperature changes.
More power, more samples
Using the inVia Qontor and LiveTrack, users can efficiently examine existing samples in detail. They can also analyze an entire range of samples with rough, uneven, and curved surfaces.
Displaying the results
If LiveTrack is active during a Raman measurement, inVia Qontor records surface height data. Using Renishaw’s Windows-based Raman Environment (WiRE™) software, spectacular 3D surface plots of the Raman data can be generated. The user can rotate and zoom those images, and alter the illumination and color tables to obtain the best view of the crucial information.
The user can also acquire a cross-section of the samples in x- and y-planes, providing dimensional data, and values can be exported to a text file for future analysis.
Tim Smith, Renishaw Applications Scientist, said:
Acquiring in-focus Raman images of your whole sample is now a reality. Users can track the surface live while acquiring surface or even subsurface Raman data and later view the Raman image and surface topography of their sample in 3D. This innovation not only saves time but, in some cases, allows us to analyse samples that were previously impossible to study.
Try it out for yourself