, Volume 55, Issue 10, pp 35-37

Collecting and analyzing microstructures in three dimensions: A fully automated approach

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Robo-Met.3D is a fully automated robotic serial sectioning device that was custom-built for three-dimensional (3-D) characterization of advanced microstructures at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. The machine is capable of automatically performing metallographic serial sectioning at unprecedented rates and at slice thicknesses between 0.1 µm and 10 µm. Imaging is also fully automatic, using either bright-field or polarized light microscopy, and the high-resolution digital images are combined using custom software to produce accurate 3-D datasets of the material microstructure in near-realtime. Robo-Met.3D is U.S. patent pending.

For more information, contact J.E. Spowart, UES Incorporated, AFRL/MLLM Bldg. 655, 2230 Tenth Street, Suite 1, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433; (937) 255-1340; fax (937) 255-3007; e-mail
Editor’s Note: A hypertext-enhanced version of this article, including 3-D animations, is available on-line at The viewing experience will be enhanced with 3-D glasses. Further information will be presented during a symposium. 3-D Materials Science, co-organized by Jonathan E. Spowart as part of Materials Science & Technology 2003, scheduled for November 9–12 in Chicago, Illinois. More meeting details are available at