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Real-Time High Resolution Quantitative Imaging by Three Wavelength Digital Holography

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

An optical system capable of reproducing three-dimensional images was invented at
ORNL. This system can detect height changes of a few nanometers or less and render
clear, single shot images. These types of precise, high speed measurements are important
for a variety of nanoscience applications.


Imaging offers a compelling alternative to convention scanning because it is faster and
does not require a contact point. This invention uses a three wavelength approach
to address the challenge of sufficiently high resolution imaging over time. The device
quantitatively determines the position of points on or within an object and can update
images as the same rate data is received or match a user’s perception of real time.

The invention may be used to measure the deformation of any micro- or nano-electromechanical
systems (MEMS or NEMS) device by making direct, long-range shape
measurements of dynamically moving samples quickly with high resolution.

  • Real-time acquisition
  • High speed
  • High resolution
  • Long-range shape measurements of moving samples
Applications and Industries
  • Deformation measurements of MEMS or NEMS devices
More Information

Christopher J. Mann and Philip R. Bingham, Real-Time High Resolution Quantitative Imaging by Three Wavelength Digital Holography, U.S. Patent Application 12/381,758, filed March 16, 2009.

Christopher J. Mann and Philip R. Bingham
Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Application 20100231918
Three wavelength quantitative imaging systems
An optical system includes more than two optical interferometers that generate interference phenomena between optical waves to measure a plurality of distances, a plurality of thicknesses, and a plurality of indices of refraction of a sample. An electromagnetic detector receives an output of the optical interferometers to render a magnified image of at least a portion of the sample. A controller reduces or eliminates undesired optical signals through a hierarchical phase unwrapping of the output of the electromagnetic detector.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

Contact ORNL About This Technology

To: Eugene Cochran<>