Observing deformations of 20 nanometer with a low-numerical-aperture light microscope

Gaudenz Danuser, Edoardo Mazza

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


In the presented paper we show that - using appropriate image post processing - measurements with an accuracy and resolution far beyond the theoretical resolution limit of an optical sensor can be made. We demonstrate this based on the observation of tensile tests which are performed on micrometers - sized samples under a low numerical aperture microscope. Although the microscope resolves only about 4 micrometers , deformations of 20 nm can be observed. The measurement accuracy is in the same range. The algorithm achieving these results is an image matching technique combined with a diagnostic tool that automatically detects measurement errors and refines the parameter estimates applying a rigorous statistical testing framework. The paper focuses on the mathematical and physical aspects of this image processing algorithm. The use of image data from tensile experiments is motivated by the fact that we can find a ground truth - namely the linearity in the stress-strain relation in the elastic domain - even on the nanometer scale. Thus, we can test the algorithm on its performance. However, the matching technique has also the capability to estimate rigid body motion with the same accuracy and resolution. In addition, the algorithm is formulated independently of the microscope type. Therefore it is a straight forward task to transfer the procedure to other microscope types, i.e. Scanning Electron Microscopes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2004
EventOptical Inspection and Micromeasurements - Besancon, France
Duration: Jun 10 1996Jun 10 1996


OtherOptical Inspection and Micromeasurements


  • image matching
  • self diagnostics
  • strain
  • super resolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Observing deformations of 20 nanometer with a low-numerical-aperture light microscope'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this