Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

In process control with optical coherence tomography

Final Report Summary - IPC-OCT (In process control with optical coherence tomography)

The main goal and objective of the IPC-OCT project was to employ a new, easy-to-use tomographic method for the in-process control/inspection in industrial production.

A set of objectives has been defined in order to gauge the progress and success of the project's research:
1. Detailed survey and analysis to define specific requirements of technology users in production processes
The exact requirements of the technology users had to be clearly defined to tailor the system to their specific needs. Starting from their technological 'problem', the parameters of the future systems were deduced.
2. Development of a compact broadband light source using photonic crystal fibres for supercontinuum generation and optimisation for use in OCT scanner system.
A new broadband source was developed based on super continuum generation in photonic crystal fibres (PCFs) using a compact femtosecond pulse source. At least, it was planned to provide a minimal spectral width, so that it is possible to obtain a resolution of 5 micrometre within materials. This set target has been reached and surpassed. The first prototype was available at midterm and has been successfully evaluated in combination with the OCT scanner.
3. Development of OCT scanner for industrial applications and optimisation of OCT system for use with new broadband laser source to meet requirements of end-users.
An OCT-system for industrial applications was developed based on the defined requirements of the end-users. At first, a prototype OCT scanner using a conventional light source was set up for industrial use and was available at midterm and was then modified and combined to form the novel OCT-scanner system.
4. Testing and validation of OCT.
The capabilities of the novel OCT-system were determined to increase the confidence in this characterisation method. This was accomplished by direct comparison with alternative methods, the most important being computer tomography.
5. Exploitation and usage of knowledge.
The capabilities of the OCT-system have been and will be further spread among possible future end-users (industry supporter group). Additional activities to increase the public and specialist's awareness of the novel method (project homepage, trade fair presentations, conference and journal papers) were and will still be covered even after project's end.

During the project's duration, the following activities were successfully performed:
- definition of technology user's requirements;
- determination of parameters of OCT scanner;
- fabrication of test samples and products;
- development of compact pulsed laser source (fs-pulse laser);
- determination and fabrication of suitable PCFs for laser source at 800 nm band;
- combination and optimisation of PCFs with pulse laser: 130 nm broad supercontinuum at 800 nm achieved;
- optimisation of compact pulsed laser source (fs-pulse laser), investigation on long term laser stability;
- fabrication of new FC/APC-connectorised PCFs with tapers;
- combination of tapered PCF and optimisation with pulse laser: almost 200 nm broad supercontinuum at 800 nm achieved;
- development of industrial OCT-prototype with conventional light sources;
- measurements on test structures with industrial OCT-scanner;
- design and evaluation of OCT extension optics (galvano scanner, cross polarisation for birefringence measurements);
- combination of light source and OCT scanner to form new system with high resolution;
- optimisation of industrial OCT-prototype;
- adapted fabrication of test samples and products;
- measurements on test structures with novel OCT scanner (esp.: micro/miniature parts);
- comparative measurement study OCT vs. CT, AFM and micrographs (test samples from end-users and industry supporter group);
- field measurements with new system at industrial production site (partner PKT);
- acquisition of new members for industry supporter group, future end-users;
- final evaluation of measurement results on samples of end-users and industry supporter group members;
- setup of final dissemination and exploitation plan.