Recent advances in the miniaturisation of traditional imaging
technologies are now enabling machine builders to integrate the full
functionality and raw imaging power of laboratory grade microscopes into
their machines, but at a fraction of the cost and with none of the
Since 1980, Opto GmbH has been a world leader in the miniaturisation
and industrial integration of traditional microscope technology,
enabling machine builders and OEMs across many diverse high tech markets
to integrate highly complex, miniaturised imaging functionality into
their machinery. Opto´s headquarters are in Munich, Germany, with
subsidiary offices in Liverpool, UK and Annecy, France.
Opto´s solutions are highly engineered devices, optimised to perform a
very precise optical inspection function inside a machine, and
consisting of microscope optics, mechanics and electronic elements.
These modules and are integrated into Optos customers machines and
provide those machines with specialist imaging and advanced microscopy
Opto´s international customer base is largely comprised of machine
building OEMs who are generally involved in leading edge technologies,
and who are close to market leadership in their niches. Opto´s
customers are diverse, and cover semiconductor, industrial biological
imaging, laser processing, credit card security, surgical microimaging
and many others.
A common feature across all Opto´s customers is their need for their
machines to capture perfect images of the samples and components which
their machines process. In many cases, the objects which these customers
need to image are challenging, and require specialist optical
techniques and optimisation in order to be visualised effectively,
consistently and with 100% reliability. Such samples include human eyes
(lasik eye surgery), arterial stents (coating thickness measurement),
embryos (InVitro imaging) and many more.
Frequently, Opto is approached by a customer who has already designed
most of their machine, and so any optomechanical module developed by
Opto must integrate perfectly and seamlessly into the available space
envelope of the clients machine. Furthermore, this design must be
robust, reliable, and scalable to the volume production requirements of
An area in which Opto has gained significant heritage and expertise
is in the area of surgical laser beam delivery specific to refractive
eye surgery. During the last 10 years, Opto has been a supplier of
surgical beam delivery modules which combine the stereo view of the
surgeon with a perfectly coaxial delivery of the surgical beam to the
patient. In developing this unique solution, Opto was able to very
effectively create a solution which gave its client significant value
Opto has also developed imaging modules which are integrated into the
very latest benchtop timelapse in-vitro fertilization machinery. This
module is comprised of a highly optimized miniaturised and inverted
microscopic optical system, designed to capture perfect, high contrast
images of embryos in their blastocyst stage for timelapse image capture.
Due to its very small size, the Opto module is integrated directly
inside the incubation chamber, meaning that the embryos can remain
safely inside their protected humidity environment for the critical
gestation period without being disturbed. The module incorporates
proprietary illumination and imaging techniques developed by Opto, and
enables the customer to perform highly effective timelapse imaging which
has resulted in significantly improved success rates in IVF treatments.
Until now, the micro-imaging performance required by such machine
building clients often leads them to a single option – to integrate an
expensive compound microscope into their machines. This can be
prohibitive for a series of reasons. Firstly, the customer typically
only requires a small portion of the functionality of the microscope,
but is faced with paying the price for a complete system just to access
that small part of its functionality. Secondly: size –such machines are
optimised to their own dimensions and space envelope. Integrating a full
size compound microscope into such a machine is a complex operation
which can significantly increase the size and cost of a machine.
Thirdly: technical risk. A compound microscope is a highly complex
optical instrument in its own right, with many features and functions
requiring specialist knowledge in order to operate and repair. This
creates a critical issue of support for the machine builder – especially
if his main market is outside his domestic territory.
Miniaturised optical imaging modules from Opto can be found inside
the machines of world market leaders in a wide variety of high
technology applications including remote automated bacterial
fluorescence microscopy, timelapse high throughput embryo processing,
high throughput automated blood screening with fluorescence, DNA and RNA
sequencing, intra ocular lens replacement surgical instrumentation.