Next-Level Scattering Measurements: Automating with COM API

Optical Solutions Editorial Team

Jul 01, 2024 / 4 min read

In the dynamic world of technology, automation has become a game-changer. It has revolutionized the way we work, elevating efficiency and accuracy in tasks that were previously manual and error prone. One such task is measuring the scattering properties of surfaces, which is an essential undertaking in the field of optics and photonics. This article explores the benefits of using automation for scattering measurements and describes how the Component Object Model (COM) application programming interface (API) aids in achieving this automation.

Why Automate Scattering Measurements?

Automation ensures that the entire scattering measurement process, from data collection to analysis, is handled programmatically. With COM API, you can set the parameters, start the process, and then focus on other tasks while the system takes care of the measurements.

Automating scattering measurements can facilitate tasks that require repetitive steps, allow you to perform measurements faster, and drive solutions that are customized to the needs of your organization and project.

Facilitate Repetitive Tasks

Scattering measurements often involve numerous repetitive tasks. Manually performing these tasks can be tedious and time-consuming. It also increases the risk of human error, which can compromise the accuracy of the results. Automation, with the help of COM API, can efficiently carry out these tasks, significantly reducing human intervention and the possibility of errors. This not only saves time but also ensures consistency in the measurements – an essential factor in scattering measurements.

The Synopsys REFLET 180S COM option enables the most commonly used features of the instrument to be run automatically with a programming script. This can be a huge benefit for anyone who needs to perform manual measurements with non-rectilinear axis sampling. 

For example, for some applications, the scattering dependency of incident angle for a fixed observation position can be a key criterion. Measurement scans of this type are ordinarily performed manually. Using commands and APIs, you can perform those manual steps automatically using a “for” loop to execute iterations.

Angle of Incidence Variations and Code | Synopsys

Perform Measurements Faster

In today's fast-paced world, every second counts. Scattering measurements needing manual steps can be a lengthy process. However, using COM API to automate these actions can drastically cut down the time needed to collect and analyze data. When you can take more measurements in less time, you increase productivity and efficiency.

To appreciate the impact this can have, consider the case of measuring anisotropic samples, where the plane of incidence is a key parameter. The Synopsys REFLET 180S sample holder has a manual rotation with graduations that permit these samples to be measured with light incident at different planes to fully capture the anisotropic behavior. The COM API option of the Synopsys REFLET 180S can automate this sample rotation. Used in conjunction with a motorized rotation stage, this enables you to characterize in an automated way all planes of incidence needed on your sample without additional intervention.

Automating Anisotropic Sample Measurements  with the Synopsys REFLET 180S

Drive Custom Solutions

A one-size-fits-all approach is not a reasonable solution for organizations and projects that have unique needs and challenges. COM API allows you to develop and deploy tailored automation solutions, catering to specific requirements and ensuring optimal use of resources. This flexibility makes COM API a valuable tool in scattering measurements.

Automating the Synopsys REFLET 180S

Integrated with COM API, the Synopsys REFLET 180S allows for high-speed data collection and analysis to deliver fast and accurate results. Its automation capabilities can ensure that critical tasks are carried out efficiently and enable customers to program the system to meet specific needs. This level of customization makes the Synopsys REFLET 180S a versatile tool in scattering measurements.

To demonstrate this approach with an example, think of automating and adding a feedback loop for the Synopsys REFLET 180S to adjust the tilt and height of samples. Prior to a measurement, you need to make sure the characterized surface is horizontal and centered within the goniometer. To do this, adjust the sample horizontality using millimetric screws and maximize the collected signal for a specular configuration. Source and detector are within the same plane with opposite angles to sample surface normal. This manual operation is critical for accurate measurements. Adding a motorized goniometer and using COM API intensity acquisition in a feedback loop would increase accuracy in the adjustment setup of samples.

Custom Solution – Auto Adjustable Sample Holder | Synopsys

Thoughts about Automating the Synopsys Mini-Diff V2

The Synopsys Mini-Diff V2 does not currently support COM API. However, potential add-ons to the instrument could automate the entire scattering measurement process – from data collection to analysis. This would save time and ensure that results are accurate and consistent. You could tailor the system to your unique requirements, ensuring that resources are used efficiently and that results are optimal.

Think of a production line, where manual measurements made with the Synopsys Mini-Diff V2 portable device on a production line could be automated by adding the instrument to a motorized arm and initiating measurements through the COM API. The collected data could be used to check surface quality and provide an automatic sorting function without operator intervention.

Automation for measurements that must be:

  • In situ
  • Periodic
Production line and proposed robotic arm | Synopsys


In the world of optics and photonics, where precision and speed are of paramount importance, using COM API to automate scattering measurements provides significant benefits. Looking at examples for the Synopsys REFLET 180S and Synopsys Mini-Diff V2, you can see how it’s possible to embrace this technology and reap those benefits.

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