Characterisation, Measurement & Analysis
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Knowledge Base

Welcome to the Lambda Knowledge Base

  • Energy Storage Application Note – Water Splitting

    Among the solar fuel technologies, water splitting is a relatively mature technology that uses renewable electricity and water to product H₂. Storing renewable energy as H₂ is a solution for the intermittency problem of solar cells and wind turbines. Moreover, a large amount of H₂ is produced in non-renewable ways every day for important industrial processes. Replacing that H₂ by the H₂ obtained using water splitting would significantly reduce the CO₂ emissions and its impact on the climate.

    Optimisation of complete electromechanical devices.

    CLICK HERE to download the full Water Splitting Application Note.

     

    For further information, application support, demo or quotation requests  please contact us on 01582 764334 or click here to email.

    Lambda Photometrics is a leading UK Distributor of Characterisation, Measurement and Analysis solutions with particular expertise in Electronic/Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation, Laser and Light based products, Optics, Electro-optic Testing, Spectroscopy, Machine Vision, Optical Metrology, Fibre Optics and Microscopy.

  • Catalysis Application Note – CO₂ Hydrogenation

    CO₂ capturing and utilisation technologies have the potential of decreasing the CO₂ emissions that cause climate change. Utilisation of CO₂ also allows to directly recycle the CO₂ produced in the industry to make the process carbon neutral and to produce value-added products (fuels and chemicals). Methanol is an excellent product for CO₂ utilisation, since it is already produced world-wide in large scales to be used as a fuel and a solvent.

    Engineering complex active sites with VSPARTICLE tools

    CLICK HERE to download the full CO₂ Hydrogenation Application Note.

     

    For further information, application support, demo or quotation requests  please contact us on 01582 764334 or click here to email.

    Lambda Photometrics is a leading UK Distributor of Characterisation, Measurement and Analysis solutions with particular expertise in Electronic/Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation, Laser and Light based products, Optics, Electro-optic Testing, Spectroscopy, Machine Vision, Optical Metrology, Fibre Optics and Microscopy.

  • Catalysis Application Note - Fuel Cells Research

    Fuel cells

    Storing electricity into fuels is a promising way to solve the intermittency problem of solar cells and wind turbines. However, in order to start implementing renewable fuels, the conversion process from these fuels back to electricity needs to be carried out efficiently and cheaply. Fuel cells are devises that can convert a great variety of chemical fuels into electricity and can be operated in a wide range of operational conditions (eg. temperatures).  This way, advances in fuel cells research can make renewable fuels a reality, which can play an important role in the energy transition.

    Challenges
    One of the most important components in a fuel cell are the catalysts in the anode and cathode of the fuel cell. The size and composition of these catalysts need to be optimised to overcome common catalyst issues, such as low activity and catalyst poisoning. However, not only the catalyst properties need to be optimised in fuel cells but also the way the catalyst is integrated into the device, which may consist of a gas diffusion layer, catalyst support and a membrane (see illustration below). Proper integration of these components should maximize the ion conduction and mass transport in the catalyst layer. Therefore, in order for fuel cell applications to have an economical and environmental impact on our society, research tools are needed to speed up the optimisation of the catalyst and its integration into a fuel cell device for specific fuels and applications.

    CLICK HERE to download the full Fuel Cells Research Catalysis Application Note.

    For further information, application support, demo or quotation requests  please contact us on 01582 764334 or click here to email.

    Lambda Photometrics is a leading UK Distributor of Characterisation, Measurement and Analysis solutions with particular expertise in Electronic/Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation, Laser and Light based products, Optics, Electro-optic Testing, Spectroscopy, Machine Vision, Optical Metrology, Fibre Optics and Microscopy.

  • Catalysis Application Note - CO2 Electroreduction

    CO2 Electroreduction

    CO2 electroreduction is a promising technology that uses intermittent renewable electricity and CO2 emissions to product fuels (e.g. methanol) and other economically relevant products (e.g. syngas). One of the great promises of this technology is to recycle the CO2 produced by factories, reducing CO2 emissions and its impact to climate change.

    In order for CO2 electroreduction to play a major role in the energy transition, the main components of a CO2 electroreduction device, the electrocatalysts, need to be optimised to produce fuels or chemicals efficiently and selectively.

    CLICK HERE to download the full Catalysis application note.

    For further information, application support, demo or quotation requests  please contact us on 01582 764334 or click here to email.

    Lambda Photometrics is a leading UK Distributor of Characterisation, Measurement and Analysis solutions with particular expertise in Electronic/Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation, Laser and Light based products, Optics, Electro-optic Testing, Spectroscopy, Machine Vision, Optical Metrology, Fibre Optics and Microscopy.

  • AN-117 Measuring Insertion Loss and Return Loss of Hybrid Cables in OPL-MAX

    Obtaining connector-level insertion loss (IL) and return loss (RL) for hybrid cables is complicated by the different connector types on either end of the cable. Hybrid cables cannot simply be flipped to test the reverse direction when the reference and device under test (DUT) connectors are no longer compatible. A test setup comprised of the OP940 IL and RL Meter with two detectors, the OP725 Benchtop Optical Switch, and OPL-Max Application Software solves the compatibility issue and allows for hybrid cable testing with high speed, accuracy, and repeatability.

    CLICK HERE to download the AN117 application note.

     

    For further information, application support, demo or quotation requests  please contact us on 01582 764334 or click here to email.

    Lambda Photometrics is a leading UK Distributor of Characterisation, Measurement and Analysis solutions with particular expertise in Electronic/Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation, Laser and Light based products, Optics, Electro-optic Testing, Spectroscopy, Machine Vision, Optical Metrology, Fibre Optics and Microscopy.

  • How Can You Accurately Test Performance of Hybrid Cables?

    Fibre patch cables, also known as patch cord or jumper cables, are fibre optic cables that are terminated with connectors on both ends. When the connector types on each end are different, the cable is aptly dubbed a HYBRID CABLE. These hybrid cables can serve to link otherwise incompatible infrastructure in existing fibre systems, such as those found in networks or data centres. They can be used to connect newer racks to legacy hardware, in distribution hubs to branch lines from high density panels to the nodes they serve, or to connect between devices from different manufacturers.

    How Can You Accurately Test Performance of Hybrid Cables?
    While the hybrid nature of these cables makes them ideal for these types of applications, it does present some challenges when evaluating the performance of the cables, whether during production or prior to installation. Like most other passive components that are added to networks or data centres, hybrid cables typically need to have both sides qualified for insertion loss (IL) and return loss (RL), along with interferometry and visual inspection.

    The challenge comes from mating the different connectors of the hybrid cable to the reference cables and detectors used to measure IL and RL, which must be done since each side of the cable must be tested. This can be achieved by having twice as many reference cables and detectors, two of each in the case of a simplex cable.

    Tailored Solution for a Challenging Problem
    The OP940 IL and RL meter serves as the base for our simplex hybrid cable test system, built with two detectors to accommodate the different connectors. Introducing the OP725 optical switch allows us to use two reference cables by toggling which cable the light travels through.
    This configuration provides both ease of use and flexibility. Having multiple reference cables connected at once allows the user to test both sides of the device under test without having to swap cables in and out. This particular example uses LC and SC cables, but testing different connector types is as simple as substituting different reference cables. A similar substitution can be done for the adapters on the detectors. In fact, if the different connectors have the same size ferrule (i.e. FC and SC), the configuration can be simplified to use one detector with a universal adapter.

    A Note on Hybrid Mating Adapters:
    While hybrid mating adapters can allow different connector types to be mated together, these types of adapters can cause issues for IL testing. LC to SC mating adapters in particular often induce extra loss into the measurements. The difference in ferrule size between the two connector types makes their connection within the hybrid mating adapter unreliable for IL testing. For this reason, the better approach is to use a different reference cable for each type of connector being tested.

    CLICK HERE to download further information.

    For further information, application support, demo or quotation requests  please contact us on 01582 764334 or click here to email.

    Lambda Photometrics is a leading UK Distributor of Characterisation, Measurement and Analysis solutions with particular expertise in Electronic/Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation, Laser and Light based products, Optics, Electro-optic Testing, Spectroscopy, Machine Vision, Optical Metrology, Fibre Optics and Microscopy.

  • The 3D scanner in a unique design for creating an anatomical baby bottle

    Today, the accessory industry for newborns and infants is a dynamically developing business sector. Manufacturers compete to invent increasingly sophisticated and creative products designed to help young parents in caring for their children. Among the many colourful and often unnecessary products, there are exceptional products that are designed to really help and support parents to create normality where it’s not always possible.

    A bottle of the future
    One such unique product is the personalised “New Eve” milk dispenser. Created by designer Beata Nikolajczyk - Miniak, it has been awarded many times in various prestigious competitions. The design of this innovative baby milk bottle is the shape of a female breast. It’s designed this way to reproduce the experience of natural feeding in situations where it is not always possible. It was created on the basis of research supported by the financial resources of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

    The process of creating a bottle started with a questionnaire dedicated to mothers feeding naturally, distributed on social networks and made available in various charitable institutions. The study involved 100 women whose breasts were sized on the basis of collected data from two angles - front view and a cross-section view. The irregular shape of the female breast was able to be reproduced using the most modern 3D scanning technology within the new SMARTTECH3D scanner. The scanner operates with structural white LED light technology and measures a field of 300x200mm in only 0.2 seconds. Because it’s using light, the measurement is completely safe for the human body.

    3D scanning itself involves obtaining information about the shape, and geometry of an object and creating its virtual digital copy. As a result of scanning, a cloud of points is obtained,  meaning a set of reflecting surfaces of the scanned object. They are described by three X, Y, Z coordinates and can also store object colour information. Then a triangle mesh is created from these points. Thanks to this, the shape of the object is reflected in detail using a set of several million small triangles.

    Gathering data about the shape of the nipple was done using only the 3D scanner, which was able to take the geometric dimensions: width, length, and height of the nipple. Using SMARTTECH3Dmeasure, a detailed analysis was able to generate precise calculations of the examined surface including indentations, inequalities occurring on the nipple surface and it was also possible to see an enlarged view of the nipple-areola surface.

    Warmth, closeness, and security enclosed in the shape of a mother's breast
    Averaging the results and analysing the relationship between the proportions of individual parts of the breast collected from all the tests on the nipple measurements contributed to the formation of the bottle in the shape closest to the natural breast. Observation of the nipple itself helped to design the shape and structure of the element responsible for the outflow of milk.

    This research was how the revolutionary "New Eve" milk dispenser was created, which has both the anatomical and sensory features of a mother's breast. Apart from being a similar shape, “New Eve” mimics the colour, feeling, and even temperature of a natural breast, by integrating a heating element. In the construction of the dispenser, a material of variable thickness was used, which is thinnest and most flexible near the nipple, but thicker at the base which also helps to dissipate heat. The feeling of the milk temperature in the dispenser is also directly related to its shape, which allows the newborn to comfortably cuddle to the larger surface of the "warm breast". The "New Eve" milk dispenser is a revolutionary project in the baby products industry and will certainly find a wide range of interested recipients. It would not have been created without the use of 3D scanners, which helped most accurately reproduce the ideal shape of a woman's breast.

    The bottle design itself has already been awarded many times at both the national and international competitions. This project, among others, was a finalist in the international contest make me! organised by Łódź Design Festival - one of the most important international competitions for designers of the young generation. In addition, the bottle was noticed by the world-class jury in the Red dot competition and qualified for the finals.

    For further information, application support, demo or quotation requests  please contact us on 01582 764334 or click here to email.

    Beata Nikolajczyk-Miniak
    A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź. Since 2012, she has been an assistant at the Faculty of Design and Interior Architecture at her alma mater. She is an enthusiast of sustainable design and activities promoting science, especially research. She is also a winner of many awards, regularly co-creates and participates in various types of open-air workshops and artistic events. In reality, she uses the possibilities that modern technological development offers, and also appreciates the functionality and aesthetics of the product.

    SMARTTECH was established in year 2000 by the group of doctors and researcher from Warsaw University of Technology under the leadership of Prof, dr. hab. Mrs. Malgorzata Kujawinska who also was the inventor of the technology. The Company from the very beginning was focused on 3D data acquisition, using optical method using fringes projection systems. Since almost 20 years we have been upgrading the measurement method by redesigning and implementing the latest optical and projection solutions, to our measurement algorithm, providing the most accurate and reliable results for the most demanding customers of total 300 number of implementations all over the world.

    Lambda Photometrics is a leading UK Distributor of Characterisation, Measurement and Analysis solutions with particular expertise in Electronic/Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation, Laser and Light based products, Optics, Electro-optic Testing, Spectroscopy, Machine Vision, Optical Metrology, Fibre Optics and Microscopy.

  • Full area topography and thickness of sub-micron films

    Precise, reliable, characterisation of thin film topography and thickness, and substrate topography.

    Thin transparent thin films are critical across a variety of markets and applications, including consumer electronics, semiconductors and optics. Precise monitoring and control of thin film processes is achieved by measuring top surface, thickness, and substrate surface characteristics – all of which are enabled by multiple thin film measurement and analysis technologies available on ZYGO's 3D optical profilers.

    In an ideal world, a surface metrology technology developed to measure submicron films will retain its performance for topography alone. This takes account of metrics, such as resolution and throughput and even the configuration flexibility. For microscope based technologies, this means that films analysis should not restrict the choice of objective or zoom.

    For thick films, the signals are well separated and can be easily distinguished between the top surface and the substrate. However, a transparent film will generally produce an additional signal from the substrate and therefore the surface and substrate signals merge and are no longer separable. But this sensitivity to films also gives the opportunity for the distorted CSI signal to be decoded to simultaneously determine surface and thickness.

    Fig1. Typical CSI signals for (a) bare surface (no film); (b) thick film (well over 1µm) with well-separated signals from surface to substrate; and (c) submicron film with merged surface and substrate signals.

    Advanced Model Based Analysis (MBA) is the most advanced CSI-based thin film measurement technique available from ZYGO, and works by comparing a theoretical model of the sample film stack to an actual measurement signal as seen by the profiler. This patented technology simultaneously measures topography, thickness, and substrate topography for single layer films from 50–2000nm in seconds. In addition to thin film characterisation, MBA technology can be used to perform true topography measurements of dissimilar materials by adjusting for the phase change on reflection (PCOR) that occurs in these situations.

    Standard Film Analysis (LSQ) is used to measure film thickness and substrates of films from 1–150µm optical thickness, as well as the top surface of films from 0.4–150µm. Thick film metrology works by isolating the interference signals that are created by the multiple material interfaces and require only basic knowledge of the film's index of refraction.

    Because they are based on CSI technology, there are several advantages that MBA and LSQ thin film measurement technologies provide compared to other techniques:

    • 3D areal surface maps provide context for understanding a process that cannot be observed when film metrology is reduced to a single thickness number.
    • Film measurement is performed through-the-lens, which helps to ensure that the region of interest is exactly the region profiled.
    • No additional hardware is required for most applications of MBA or LSQ thin film measurement.

    Standard Film Analysis (LSQ) is available as an option on NewView 9000, Nexview and Nexview NX2 profilers, while Advanced Model Based Analysis (MBA) is available as an option exclusively on the Nexview and Nexview NX2 platforms.

    To speak with a Sales & Applications Engineer please call 01582 764334 or click here to email.

    Lambda Photometrics is a leading UK Distributor of Characterisation, Measurement and Analysis solutions with particular expertise in Electronic/Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation, Laser and Light based products, Optics, Electro-optic Testing, Spectroscopy, Machine Vision, Optical Metrology, Fibre Optics and Microscopy.

  • SMARTTECH 3D scanners in industry - "LUBIANA" porcelain factory

    3D technologies are becoming more and more boldly entering modern enterprises to prove themselves in other industries, departments, and fields. The most modern technological solutions are present in our homes, workplaces, and means of transport and are slowly becoming our everyday life. However, we are not always aware of how much modern technology contributes to the creation of products that are hosted in our daily lives.

    When drinking tea from a beautiful porcelain cup, we do not usually think about the long way that this product has gone through to reach our hands. In our imagination, we have a factory where the project is created and the cup is cast, dried, painted and sold. However, this process is much more complicated and requires modern solutions so that it can exist and stand out among the extensive competition. The key to success is often the original shape and pattern. Where to get a new form when you can find almost all possible patterns and colours on the market? One of the most popular tableware manufacturers in Poland, Lubiana, stood before such a challenge. The company has been operating continuously since 1969 and offers products at the highest global level, producing approximately 3,500,000 porcelain products per month. It implements individual orders, creates dedicated product lines as well as promotional projects and its products sometimes stand out due to their high originality.

    Let's return to our cup, however. To create an original product that will impress with its shape, Lubiana company has asked artists for help, whose creativity has helped to create interesting projects. These people create their works for the needs of the Lubiana company in a rather traditional way - sculpting them in a cast. These products are sometimes very detailed, have lots of small parts, decorative reliefs, and shapes. When the product is finished, it is sent to Lubiana, which is designed to accurately reproduce the product and enable its production on a larger scale. At this stage of production, it was necessary to purchase a 3D scanner from SMARTTECH together with dedicated SMARTTECH3Dmeasure software.

    The mentioned 3D scanning involves obtaining information about the shape, geometry of the object and creating its virtual, digital copy. As a result of scanning, a point cloud is obtained, i.e. a set of reflecting surfaces of the scanned object. They are described by three X, Y, Z coordinates and can also store object colour information. Then a triangle grid is created from these points. Thanks to it, the shape of the object is reflected in detail using a set of several million small triangles.

    Having already created a network of artistic project triangles, you can create a copy using 3D printers or numerically controlled milling machines. Lubiana company uses a mesh of triangles created thanks to the purchased 3D scanner from SMARTTECH to prepare the mould for milling, which is then used to create finished products. The unique design of the artist is thus reproduced on a large scale in an unchanged form and then goes to stores. This is how a beautiful porcelain cup goes to our hands and accompanies us in everyday activities.

    The company Lubiana has been using 3D scanning technology from SMARTTECH since 2014, however, in 2019, it decided to upgrade the SMARTTECH3Dmeasure software to the latest version of v.2019 and recalibrate the previously purchased 3D scanner from SMARTTECH. As pointed out by Zbigniew Andrzejewski, General Director of Lubiana "We received the software that is characterised by a high standard, modern technology with efficient parameters and functions with a significant increase in productivity over the models. We are satisfied with the decision to buy the equipment upgrade".

    For further information, application support, demo or quotation requests  please contact us on 01582 764334 or click here to email.

    SMARTTECH was established in year 2000 by the group of doctors and researcher from Warsaw University of Technology under the leadership of Prof, dr. hab. Mrs. Malgorzata Kujawinska who also was the inventor of the technology. The Company from the very beginning was focused on 3D data acquisition, using optical method using fringes projection systems. Since almost 20 years we have been upgrading the measurement method by redesigning and implementing the latest optical and projection solutions, to our measurement algorithm, providing the most accurate and reliable results for the most demanding customers of total 300 number of implementations all over the world.

    Lambda Photometrics is a leading UK Distributor of Characterisation, Measurement and Analysis solutions with particular expertise in Electronic/Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation, Laser and Light based products, Optics, Electro-optic Testing, Spectroscopy, Machine Vision, Optical Metrology, Fibre Optics and Microscopy.

  • Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) Sample preparation

    Sample preparation in Electron Microscopy is one of the most important factors in obtaining high quality data.

    A key phrase to remember is if you put “rubbish in” you’ll get “rubbish out”.

    Therefore, how can high quality TEM samples actually be produced? This short article will try and answer this question by covering the basic steps of sample preparation for TEM.

    The main characteristic of high quality specimens, is that they are thin, very thin. Ideally, a thickness that is close to the mean free path of the electrons that travel through the samples. For instance, High Resolution Imaging will need samples with a thickness of 100 angstrom. For electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) between 100 to 500 angstrom and for diffraction contrast around 300 to 500 nanometres.

    But how do you achieve the appropriate specimen thickness? 

    A sample will normally start as a Bulk material. Using the Fischione Model 130 specimen punch a 3mm disk can be sectioned from the bulk material. This disk will be in the region of 500 microns or thicker. Thus, the size needs to be reduced further. This can be achieved with the use of the Fischione Model 160 specimen grinder. The grinder can reduce the thickness to roughly 20 microns. Then by utilising a high precision Fischione Model 200 dimple grinder the thickness can be reduced to a few microns.

     

    The final step to prepare an ideal sample for TEM analysis is Ion Milling. Once the sample thickness is approximately 5 microns or less, the Fischione 1051 TEM Ion Mill can be used to reduce the thickness of the specimen further, potentially until it perforates.

    During this procedure the user needs to observe the specimen closely and wait for the coloured fringes to appear. For example, when silicon is very thin (< 1 µm), changes in the colour of its fringes will directly correlate with changes in the specimen thickness. By milling at higher kV until coloured fringes are first observed and then milling at lower kV until perforation, one can accurately endpoint the milling process.

    After then being plasma cleaned, ideally using the Fischione 1070, the specimen will be ready for analysis within the microscope.

    This article covers the basic principles required to achieve electron transparency, but not all samples are considered equal. Please visit our website or contact us for more in-depth preparation steps on 01582 764334 or click here to email.

    Lambda Photometrics is a leading UK Distributor of Characterisation, Measurement and Analysis solutions with particular expertise in Electronic/Scientific and Analytical Instrumentation, Laser and Light based products, Optics, Electro-optic Testing, Spectroscopy, Machine Vision, Optical Metrology, Fibre Optics and Microscopy.

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