Confocal sensor systems for displacement, distance, position and thickness

08 June 2020

Confocal chromatic measuring systems are increasingly used for fast distance and thickness measurements. Different sensor and controller models open versatile fields of application; e.g. in the semiconductor industry, glass industry, medical engineering and plastics production.

Compared with laser triangulation sensors, confocal chromatic sensors offer numerous advantages. Especially when measuring on reflecting and shiny targets, confocal chromatic sensors provide high accuracy whereas e.g. laser sensors are overdriven due to the high light intensity.

Distance measurement on any surface

In contrast to laser-optical sensors, confocal chromatic sensors are almost independent of the light reflected by the surface. Therefore, the distance can be measured from dark and mat surfaces as well as from shiny and reflecting surfaces.

One-sided thickness measurement

The confocal chromatic sensors enable thickness measurements of transparent materials such as glass. The thickness value is detected to micrometer accuracy using only a single sensor. The multi-peak evaluation enables the thickness measurement of multi-layer targets like glass.

Submicron resolution

Confocal chromatic sensors provide an extremely high resolution. As individual spectral colors are used for the measurement, resolutions in the submicron range are possible.

High measuring rates for dynamic measurement tasks

The confocal sensors from Micro-Epsilon enable high speed measurements. The controllers offer with up to 70kHz the highest measuring rate in the world. However, it is important to adapt the exposure to the respective surface. Therefore, controllers from Micro-Epsilon operate based on a exposure control feature which uses the previous measuring cycle offering the fastest surface adaptation available.

Ease of use via web interface

Due to a user-friendly web interface, the entire configuration process of controller and sensors is carried out without using any additional software. The web interface can be accessed via Ethernet and provides set up and configuration options. Materials are stored in an expandable materials database. Data output is via Ethernet, PROFINET, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT, RS422 or analog output.


  • Extremely high resolution
  • Suitable for all surfaces
  • Extremely small, constant spot size
  • Compact beam path
  • One-sided thickness measurement of transparent materials
  • Vacuum-suitable sensors

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