Posted in | Displacement Sensors

Confocal Sensor Systems for Displacement and Distance

Micro-Epsilon's confocal chromatic sensors offer the newest modern technology for position, distance, displacement, and thickness measurements integrated with the highest precision and high speed. Particularly when measuring on reflecting and shiny targets, the confocal chromatic sensors deliver high accuracy while laser sensors are overdriven because of the high light intensity. This is a key benefit in a “live” production process, where tactile measurement technology is working at its limits, particularly if the target is positioned in a hard-to-access area.

The confocal chromatic sensors and controllers from Micro-Epsilon offer unmatched benefits in terms of sensitivity, measuring rate, and precise thickness measurement. A variety of sensor models and controller interfaces open versatile fields of application, for example, in the glass sector, semiconductor sector, medical engineering, and plastics production.


  • Nanometer resolution
  • Virtually surface-independent measurement, plus valid for glass and mirrored surfaces
  • Very small and constant spot size

Distance Measurement on Any Surface

Unlike laser-optical sensors, confocal chromatic sensors are virtually independent of the light reflected by the surface. Thus, the distance can be measured from dark and matte surfaces as well as from reflecting and shiny surfaces.

One-sided Thickness Measurement of Transparent Materials

The confocal chromatic measuring norm allows thickness measurements of transparent materials like glass. The thickness is sensed to micrometer accuracy using only one single sensor which uses the reflections of the rear and front side of the material. These reflections produce peaks on the CCD array based on which the equivalent thickness and distance are computed. The evaluation of up to six peaks allows measurements of multi-layer objects such as laminated glass, where the appropriate material can be chosen for each layer.

Ready for Vacuum

In contrast to other measuring systems, confocal chromatic sensors are mainly appropriate for use in vacuum, as the sensor comprises of passive components. Thus, the sensor does not give out any heat. However, all components must be appropriate for use in vacuum. In a vacuum, particularly in a high vacuum (HV) and an ultra-high vacuum (UHV), no conventional materials can be used which might taint the environment by outgassing. Mainly for use in vacuum applications, Micro-Epsilon provides confocal chromatic sensors, cables, and accessories which can be used in line with their corresponding specification.

Controllers with High Speeds and High Resolutions

The confocalDT controllers offer a superior signal-to-noise ratio allowing measurements at high accuracy. Theyare some of the world’s fastest controllers and are often used for dynamic monitoring operations. The rapid surface compensation controls the exposure cycles so as to attain high signal stability which is especially promising when measuring surfaces with varying reflection features. The interfaces accessible are RS422, Ethernet or EtherCAT and AnalogOut.

Easy Usage via Web Interface

Due to a user-friendly web interface, the whole configuration process of controller and sensors is performed without using any extra software. The web interface can be accessed via Ethernet and offers set up and configuration selections. Materials can be stored in a materials database that is expandable. Data output is via Ethernet, RS422, EtherCAT, or analog output.

Unmatched Precision: Confocal sensor systems for displacement, distance, position and thickness

Distance measurement on any surface
One-sided thickness measurement of transparent materials
Ready for vacuum
Ease of use via web interface

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