This novel invention uses polishing techniques to slowly polish or abrade away stepped layers of an object to be scanned. The scanned object is cast into a contrasting resin which provides a dark (or light) background for photography. The layers are digitally photographed stepwise to produce a record of internal structures. 2D digital images are reassembled using computer and software methods to produce exquisitely fine detailed 3D digital models of the solid internal structures in full color.
Because polishing can be controlled tightly, layers may be removed in the in the nanometer realm. This implies the limiting barrier in resolution is the pixel size of the recording camera. These cameras pixels are getting denser and denser as technology progresses which only improves the performance of the 3D scanner.
The multi-spectral light used to illuminate the image plane can be used to identify the chemical components of the object. Therefore the 3D scanner has a spectrometer function as well.
The Full Color 3D Solid Image Scanner would be important in the semiconductor industry. Most importantly 1st article scanning semiconductor devices to determine as manufactured state vs. as designed.
Cutting tools and sharpening equipment are not needed vs. microtome and CNC methods.
Sample scanner does not move the image plane between scans reducing image alignment errors.
z-axis cuts in the nanometer range can yield nanometer voxel (cubic pixel) resolution.
Digital recording of the images can allow fast scanning for 3D processing later.
Intelectual Property generator- Digital 3D files created have value and are instantly protected by copyrights.
Lapidary or polishing techniquies are used in industry to produce the finest intruments. These techniques can produce the finest resolution 3D scans.
The competing technologies of Computed Tomography (CT) & Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have limitations on voxel (cubic pixel) minimum size because of limitations of the apparatus.
The Full Color 3D Solid Image Scanner by contrast is limited by the z-axis scan thickness vs the limits of the pixel size of the imaging camera. Thus the voxel size is much much smaller in the order of micrometers approaching the realm of nanometers.
CT and MRI scanners are known to cost in the order of millions of dollars. These are very capital intensive instruments beyond the affordability of many applications. The Full Color 3D Solid Image Scanner is a simple machine likely to cost in the order of several thousand dollars in commercial quantities.
CT & MRI produce false color images whereby the researcher assigns colors to grey values. The Full Color 3D Solid Image Scanner produces true color images that is only limited by the color camera used.
US Patent: 7840300