The following describes our research facilities in use by the group today. Our work stretches across biomedical, industrial, and national security topics and these facilities reflect work being done in all of these areas. If you would like to learn more about these resources and how to work with ORNL please see Working With Us
Digital Holography Microscopy Laboratory
Spatial Heterodyned Interferometry (SHI) - ORNL has developed a novel method for interferometric imaging. With the original microscope shown above, a 532nm illumination wave-front reflects off of the surface of a test object and is imaged onto a 1024x1024 CCD sensor. A reference beam is mixed on the CCD at a tunable angle to produce a tightly controlled interferogram with highly linear fringes. These fringes are modulated by the topology and material characteristics of a surface under test. The interferogram can also be described as a digital hologram considering that both the phase and amplitude of the complex optical wave-front are encoded. The hologram is reconstructed from a single digital hologram (i.e., no phase shifting of the reference is required) to simultaneously provide both the phase and amplitude of the inspection surface using an SHI method.
The SHI facility uses a 532nm laser source and can achieve a transverse resolution of approximately 266nm, while surface height measurements of approximately 10nm are achievable. The laboratory is contained in a class 1,000 clean room with the particular microscopy equipment contained in a class 100 environment.
Our original applications of the SHI microscopy technology have been for semiconductor wafer applications, in particular to characterize high-aspect-ratio patterned features on memory and logic devices. Today we are extending the technology, e.g., as shown above, to consider transmission SHI on products such as phase shifting photolithographic masks. We are also investigating the application of SHI microscopy to biological samples, MEMS, and a host of other materials.
Small Animal Imaging Laboratory
Micro-CT Small Animal Imaging - This is a picture of ORNL’s state-of-the-art small animal x-ray micro-CT imaging system. This x-ray CT scanner is capable of generating anatomic images of small animals, primarily mice and rats, with resolutions as high as 18-microns. This scanner is used to support multiple small animal research programs at ORNL funded by both the Office of Biological and Environmental Research at the DOE and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at NIH.
MicroSPECT Small Animal Imaging - This is a picture of a small animal micro-SPECT imaging system. This system has an integrated optical tracking system that can track the motion of the head of an animal in 3D to sub 0.1mm accuracy. This allows physiologic imaging to be performed via SPECT on a non-anesthetized animal. The pose data generated by the tracking system is used to remove the motion artifacts prior to SPECT image reconstruction. This has clinical applications in imaging patients such as children or adults with Alzheimer’s or Parkinsons, that are unable to remain motionless during a topographic scanning procedure.
Oak Ridge Web Test Bed Laboratory
The Oak Ridge Web Test Bed (WTB) is a unique facility developed to assist in the design, development, and prototyping of automated vision systems for web-based processes. A web is a continuous manufacturing process used to produce products such as paper, woven and non-woven textiles, sheet steel, and aluminum, printed graphics, plastics, and thin-film products. The WTB is capable of moving various types of web materials and products at speeds in excess of 1,500 ft/sec while controlling material tracking from side-to-side, forward position, velocity, and acceleration.
The WTB provides a test bed environment that simulates a particular manufacturing process in support of the research and development of a fieldable inspection system. The facility has been instrumental in developing working relationships with partnerships with various U.S. industries. The WTB can accommodate up to 26 inch wide webs circulating in a continuous loop through a guide mechanism, inspection zone (reflectance and transmission), and an area for splicing the web. Circulation of the web takes place in a controlled manner with respect to velocity, acceleration, tension, and lateral position. The WTB has been designed in a modular fashion to support various lighting and illumination schemes and to accommodate future expansion and modification as required.
Video Analysis Laboratory
Besides our lab areas described above, we also support a video analysis laboratory containing a number of networked computing workstations, video frame capture systems and processing hardware, and space for visiting assignees, faculty, and students to work while on-site.