Zeta Instruments, Inc. a leading provider of cost-effective, precision measurement solutions for micron-scale surface analysis, announced that its Zeta-20™ optical metrology system has been selected for the analysis and development of advanced microfluidics/biotechnology laboratory products.
IntegenX, an innovative supplier of automation systems for DNA and RNA-based micro-sample preparation used in forensics and gene sequencing, has chosen Zeta’s 3D surface measurement solution to analyze the dimensional properties of its micro-channel biochips.
Leveraging Zeta’s patented Z-Dot™ technology, the Zeta-20 microscope system provides rapid 3D imaging of deep, high-aspect ratio features, enabling the gathering of step height, roughness, dimensions, angles and volume without physically contacting or damaging the sample. The non-destructive measurement capability of the Zeta-20 helps accelerate product development, assure quality control, and efficiently monitor manufacturing processes for fluid micro-channel fabrication by providing biotechnology researchers and engineers with the ability to quickly characterize deep channel structures.
Z-Dot technology makes it possible for optical imaging systems to quickly map micron-scale surface features in three dimensions. In less than one minute, the Zeta-20 can vertically scan a surface in increments as small as 15 nanometers to provide accurate measurements of samples on the Z-axis as well as on the X and Y-axes. It also permits the imaging of complex surfaces that are non-flat and have very high roughness and/or low reflectivity. Other measurement systems typically have difficulty measuring such surfaces, or require complex sample alignment and preparation. The Zeta-20 provides biotechnology R&D staff with an optical measurement tool that is easy to use and requires less training and maintenance than its counterparts—providing faster implementation and better value over other tools in its class.
“The Zeta-20 reliably measures our micro-channel structures, enabling us to clearly quantify changes we make to our fabrication processes where we were unable to effectively do so before,” stated Ezra Van Gelder, executive vice president of research and development at IntegenX. “We evaluated numerous tools to address this need and chose the Zeta 20 because of its ability to image and quantify micro-fluidic structures that we found difficult, if not impossible to measure with other systems.”
Howard Goldstein, executive vice president of commercial affairs at IntegenX, added, “The Zeta-20 has enabled us to reduce our product development time as well as increase both product efficiency and yields. In addition, its ease-of-use has reduced the training time required to bring our operators ‘up-to-speed’ thereby making it a more widely accessible tool across the company.”
The Zeta-20 with its Z-Dot technology and application-specific software provides imaging and measurement capabilities superior to those of laser confocal microscopes. In addition, Zeta offers true-color imaging and significantly lower system cost and a simpler overall design for much lower maintenance and greater ease of use. Other solutions such as interferometer-based microscope systems require meticulous sample alignment and are generally unable to effectively measure deep-feature samples such as those used in genetic sequencing, while Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEMs) provide very high-resolution imaging but require lengthy, often destructive, sample preparation and cannot provide true-color images.
“While our Z-Dot technology allows for rapid characterization of many difficult-to-measure surfaces, it is especially well-suited for complex biotechnology applications,” noted Zeta Instruments President, Rusmin Kudinar. “The Zeta-20 makes it possible to obtain detailed measurements of high-aspect ratio and deep channels and wells used in gene sequencing and micro-sample preparation. The ability to image and profile extreme features such as these, is generating interest from a wide array of biotechnology providers.”
Zeta Instruments systems are unique in offering multi-function metrology features within a single integrated measurement tool. The Zeta-20 has options for a film thickness photo-spectrometer, Nomarski/q-DIC low-contrast imaging optics, and various sample handling configurations. These options enable users to measure transparent thin-films on samples such as anti-reflective coatings, photo-resists and ultra-smooth surfaces with nanometer-scale features, as well as to measure samples in different physical orientations.