Microcam-3D/4D profilometers

for high-precision non-contact 3D metrology

Microcam-3D/4D  fiber-based optical profilometers provide:

  • Non-contact surface and cross-sectional inspection for a wide range of industrial metrology applications
  • 3D measurements and imaging – geometry, GD&T parameters, roughness, thickness, vibration, defects
  • High speed, sub-micron resolution, excellent repeatability
  • Ease of use for manual or automated applications
  • Modularity and versatility with fiber-based probes that reach into hard-to-reach spaces

Notably, the same profilometer is capable of measuring roughness, GD&T parameters, and defects. This versatility allows many of our clients to use the system for a variety of related inspection tasks.


Overview of features and benefits


  • Optical, non-contact, non-destructive
  • High speed: 2 to 100 kHz and higher
  • Sub-micron resolution, excellent S/N ratio
  • 2D and 3D surface and subsurface characterization
  • Thickness, roughness, vibration
  • Long stroke profilometry


  • Surface profiles
  • Cross-sections (B-scans, C-scans)
  • Volumetric images

Fiber-based probes

  • Inspect inside bores, tubes, and crevices
  • Provide versatility for high-speed online inspection

Profile of a fuel cell bipolar plate Intra-ocular lens: 2D optical cross-section created from thickness scan


  •  Wide range of materials: metal, plastics, polymers, glass, metal coatings, silicone, adhesives; reflective, transparent, semi-transparent, specular, nonspecular
  • Wide range of objects and surfaces: objects can be small (several microns wide) to large (no upper limit), stationary or moving, solid or liquid, and include interiors of bores and tubes, exteriors of cylinders, concave or convex spherical shapes, extremely hot or cold, radioactive
  • Versatility of setup: Non-contact probes work up to 1 m away from surface and more than 1 km from interferometer
  • Small-diameter probes reach in to measure insides of bores and small-diameter tubes
  • High-aspect-ratio surface features can be acquired: channels, grooves, steps, sharp edges, and more
  • Continuous, long profile scanning: no area stitching required
  • Option of multiplexing probes with single interferometer for additional ROI
  • Easy integration of fiber probes in labs and in process: on XY tables, on multi-axes scanning mechanisms, inside machining centers, above moving webs, etc.
  • Rugged probes: inspection possible in hostile environments where humans cannot work
  • USB connection for data transfer from interferometer to PC or laptop


Metrology Applications

Typical measurements

3D metrology and imaging for industry and R&D

  • Quality control
  • Online 3D production inspection, GD&T
  • Statistical process control SPC
  • R&D

3D profilometry and imaging of a coin with low coherence interferometry.


Gallery of images (click for close-up)

Roughness measurement - 2D, 3D, as well as height & intensity images

Thickness measurements - single or multiple layers, transparent or semi-transparent materials

Dimensional measurements

Defect measurements

Vibration measurements


Metrology Software

Data acquisition

Novacam high-performance data acquisition software is included with all Microcam non-contact profilometers.

  • PC, Windows®-based
  • User-friendly interface for scan control on any Novacam inspection station (see Accessories tab)

The Application Programming Interface (API) is available for system integrators and OEMs. With the API, a wide variety online and offline applications can be accommodated.

Novacam data acquisition software user interface

Novacam data acquisition software user interface

Data analysis and 3D imaging

Data analysis and 3D imaging may take place offline or in real time.

  • Data output formats: point cloud, 32 bit tiff
  • Output exportable to:
    • CAD/CAM software: PolyWorks, Geomagic, SolidWorks, Creo Elements/Pro (Pro/ENGINEER), etc.
    • Imaging, visualization and numerical analysis software: ImageJ, Octave, MatLab, Mathematica, IDL, IGOR Pro
    • Surface and roughness analysis software
    • STL file format

Gearhead 3-dimensional surface images

Gearhead 3-dimensional surface images

Option: Novacam Volume Loss application

Novacam Volume Loss Application processes the acquired surface dimensional data to determine volume loss from abrasion and wear:

  • with micron precision
  • on samples and components of various shapes and sizes, including inner and outer surfaces of tubes

Novacam Volume Loss Calculation Application

Novacam Volume Loss Application

Novacam Volume Loss Application: scan control user interface

Novacam Volume Loss Application



Fiber-based optical probes

Standard probes

  • Standard probes: 18 mm diameter,  forward-looking or side-looking (90º)
  • Standard small-diameter probes: choice of 1.05, 2.4, 3.05 or 4.6-mm diameter, front-looking or side-looking (90º)

Examples of standard probes

Examples of standard probes

Custom probes
Novacam designs and builds custom probes as needed. These can be:

  • Extra-small, with diameters as small as 0.5 mm
  • Rotational
  • Extra-long to reach into hard-to-reach spaces
  • Combined with galvanometers for efficient area or strip scanning
  • Extra rugged for high temperatures and extreme environments

2D Galvo scanner probe

2D Galvo scanner probe

Lab inspection stations

For lab and QA applications:

  • Inspection stations with probe displacement in 2, 3 or 4 axes
  • Granite tables optionally available and recommended for some applications

Probes may be integrated with 3rd party CMMs (coordinate-measuring machines), CNC (computer numerical control) machines, or any robots.

Novacam designs and builds custom benchtop fixtures as needed.

Inline probe fixtures

Web scanning can be accomplished

  • with a single scanning probe moving across the web or
  • with multiple stationary probes which are multiplexed by an optical switch.

Novacam designs and builds custom inline fixtures as needed.

Optical switches for use with multiple probes

Optical switches are available for multiplexing up to 8 probes to a single interferometer.

Novacam 2-axes inspection station with manual elevator

Novacam 2-axes inspection station with manual elevator


System specifications

The inspection capabilities of the profilometer are determined jointly by its two main components: the Microcam interferometer (signal processing detector) and the fiber-based optical probe selected for the application.

Microcam interferometer models

General characteristics
Technologylow-coherence interferometry
Light wavelength1310 nm, infrared
Interferometer enclosure4U rackable enclosure
445 (W) x 445 (D) x 178 (H) mm
Non-contact measurements
Depth of fielddepends on selected probe parameters,
see "Parameter selection for standard probes" table below
Scanning depth range options*3.5 mm7 mm5 mm
Acquisition (A-scan) rate2.10 kHz1.05 kHz100 kHz
Axial (Z-axis) resolutionLess than 0.5 µm
Light spot size
(Lateral [XY-axis] resolution)
4.1 - 146 µm, depends on selected probe parameters,
see "Parameter selection for standard probes" table below
Standoff distance1 - 100 mm for standard probes
up to 1 m for non-standard probes
RepeatabilityLess than 1 µm
Thickness measurements
Thickness measurement range
(in Air, IR = 1.0)
10 µm - 3.5 mm10 µm - 7 mm20 µm - 5 mm
Typical materials for
thickness measurements
glass, polymers, multi-layer films, coatings, plastics, silicone, liquids, specular or non-specular
Sample reflectivity0.1 - 100%
*To further increase maximum scanning depth, a mechanical displacement axis is available.

Optical probes

Parameter selection for standard probes
Focal length (mm)
Aperture (mm)1 mmLight spot size (µm)24.737.058.497.4146.0
Depth of field (µm)739165441241145525773
2.4 mmLight spot size (µm)8.813.120.734.551.7
Depth of field (µm)9320751714373233
4 mmLight spot size (µm)6.49.515.025.137.6
Depth of field (µm)491102747601710
7.6 mmLight spot size (µm)-4.16.510.916.3
Depth of field (µm)-2152143322
This table shows the relationship of light spot size (lateral resolution), focal length, depth of field, and probe aperture. Depth of field is the distance on either side of the focal plane where light spot size is √2 (approx 1.42) bigger than the spot size in focus.

Related links

Contact us to discuss your application needs