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TERASCOPE – research and development for the future

The Fischer TERASCOPE system is being designed specifically for measuring multiple layers. With this system every single coating layer in a multi-layer system can be detected and precisely determined. All in one single work step. This pioneering technology uses terahertz radiation, i.e. the electromagnetic frequency range between 0.1 and 10 terahertz. Together with automotive and paint manufacturers, we are developing solutions for integrating this technology into production processes. However, that does not come close to exhausting the methodβ€˜s potential. Many substances interact with THz radiation in a characteristic way. This opens up many more possible applications for the future.

The company works and develops independently as well as complementary in cooperation with partners via a funded project of the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) on the technology of TERASCOPE. The BMBF project "pAInt-Behaviour" can be viewed publicly: BMBF - The Future of Value Creation

Applications

Single and Multilayer coating thickness detection

  • Fully automated quality control in automotive painting
  • Industrial process control

Quality control and non-destructive test (NDT)

  • Imaging through material, detection of hidden defects

Spectroscopic measurements

  • Material characterization and development

Advantages

  • Substrate-independent
  • Multilayer Capability
  • Easy Automation
  • Non-contact Technology
  • Non-destructive Testing
  • Fast and reliable Measurement

Measuring with terahertz – how does it work?

The terahertz measurement systems (TERASCOPE), that are being developed by Helmut Fischer, employ the electromagnetic frequency range between 0.1 and 10 THz for measuΒ­ring layer thicknesses. This β€œterahertz raΒ­diation” – as the electromagnetic waves within this bandwidth are called – is generated by an optoelectronic unit using a compact fiber laser. And it allows each individual coating within a multilayer system to be detected separaΒ­tely. Being fully integrated into the painting line, this automated technology can clearly identify and check the quaΒ­lity of any automotive coating systems, either on metallic or plastic substrates.

Fast and Non-Destructive Coating Thickness Measurement

The measurements are based on the time-of-flight difΒ­ferences, which are partially reflected when they hit the boundaries between different layers. This allows the system to deterΒ­mine the respective coating thicknesses non-destructively. Like other materiΒ­als do, paints and lacquers exhibit their own characteristic absorption spectra in the terahertz range, meaning that paraΒ­meters such as thickness, homogeneity and porosity can be derived from these time-scaled echos. An automated measuΒ­ring cell, fully integrated into the painΒ­ting line: The system, which is mounted on a robot arm, measures without ever touching the surface. As this pulse passes through the various layers of paint, some of it is reflected at the boundaries between them. The resulting signal curves can be extracted using algorithms generated specifically for this purpose; this allows each individual coating and its respectiΒ­ve thickness to be determined precisely. The measuring head never touches the surface being tested, but always floats a few centimeters above it. That means the system can even be used on wet paints. Since each measurement takes mere fractions of a second, it goes much faster than the time it takes to repositiΒ­on the robot.

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