Press Release

ZEISS presents digital microscope with extended depth of field in real time

MALS™ technology revolutionises visual inspection capabilities

25 January 2021

Oberkochen | 25 January 2021 | ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions

With ZEISS Visioner 1, ZEISS is launching an innovative digital microscope that for the first time enables all-in-one focus in real time thanks to its Micro-mirror Array Lens System (MALS™). With its extended depth of field, users in their quality control and quality assurance applications in manufacturing can for the first time see the sample completely in focus without having to combine different focal planes from a series of images or post-process them. This not only simplifies the imaging and documentation process, but also allows for faster inspection and therefore higher throughput.

ZEISS Visioner 1. All-in-focus. First time. Every time.

ZEISS Visioner 1. All-in-focus. First time. Every time.

Advanced depth of field in real time

Conventional inspection systems are always challenged by a shallow depth of field, especially at high magnification. This means that only a small area of the sample is in focus, which can lead to features being overlooked and the inspection being incomplete as a result. Extensive refocusing to obtain an extended depth of field, or post-processing, is a solution to this problem, but it is time-consuming and complex. "This is simply a result of the laws of optics," explains Dr Robert Zarnetta, Head of Industrial Microscopy Solutions at ZEISS. "Even with the ZEISS Visioner 1, we can't break this law, of course, but we can bend it in some ways."

The key to this lies in MALS™ technology - the so-called Micro-mirror Array Lens System. This is a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) consisting of a complex of small mirrors measuring 100 x 100 µm. These can be individually adjusted to generate "virtual" lenses with different curvatures and thus focusing planes. This allows the digital microscope to sharply image any point on the sample. "What's really revolutionary about this is that we can adjust the micro-mirrors so quickly that the image display to the user is in real time," says Zarnetta. The result is 100 times greater extended depth of field than conventional digital microscopes. It also provides the ability to optically inspect for height differences of up to 69 mm without the need to move the optical system or refocus the sample. 3D information of the sample is visible at a glance, enabling faster and more reliable inspection. Ergonomic operation, fast visualisation and documentation.

For users, this creates tangible benefits in their daily practice. ZEISS Visioner 1 speeds up the inspection process, allowing more components to be inspected in less time. In addition, the elimination of the tiring view through eyepieces and the manual readjustment of the microscope noticeably improves the ergonomics at work. The real-time display of a fully sharp specimen on a screen enables a healthier posture and better concentration on the actual inspection and documentation tasks.

And the combination of full inspection at a glance with the intuitive, workflow-oriented ZEISS ZEN core software significantly simplifies inspection and documentation - especially relevant for highly regulated industries with extensive verification requirements such as automotive, aerospace or the medical industry that rely on complying with GxP guidelines.

"With ZEISS Visioner 1, we are convincingly solving a fundamental problem in microscopy that affects our customers every day," says Robert Zarnetta. "Directly linked to this is a practical benefit for our customers in the form of a significant increase in their productivity and greater certainty in their inspection results."

Further Information

PRESS CONTACT Bernd Balle ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. In the previous fiscal year, the ZEISS Group generated annual revenue totaling 8.8 billion euros in its four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets (status: 30 September 2022).

For its customers, ZEISS develops, produces and distributes highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for the life sciences and materials research, and medical technology solutions for diagnostics and treatment in ophthalmology and microsurgery. The name ZEISS is also synonymous with the world's leading lithography optics, which are used by the chip industry to manufacture semiconductor components. There is global demand for trendsetting ZEISS brand products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses and binoculars.

With a portfolio aligned with future growth areas like digitalization, healthcare and Smart Production and a strong brand, ZEISS is shaping the future of technology and constantly advancing the world of optics and related fields with its solutions. The company's significant, sustainable investments in research and development lay the foundation for the success and continued expansion of ZEISS' technology and market leadership. ZEISS invests 13 percent of its revenue in research and development – this high level of expenditure has a long tradition at ZEISS and is also an investment in the future.

With over 40,000 employees, ZEISS is active globally in almost 50 countries with around 30 production sites, 60 sales and service companies and 27 research and development facilities (status: 31 March 2023). Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of the largest foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science, is the sole owner of the holding company, Carl Zeiss AG.

Further information at

ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions

ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions is a leading manufacturer of multidimensional metrology solutions. These include coordinate measuring machines, optical and multisensor systems, microscopy systems for industrial quality assurance as well as metrology software for the automotive, aircraft, mechanical engineering, plastics and medical technology industries. Innovative technologies such as 3D X-ray metrology for quality inspection round off the portfolio. In addition, ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions offers a broad global spectrum of customer services with ZEISS Quality Excellence Centers close to its customers. The company is headquartered in Oberkochen. Production and development sites outside Germany are located in Minneapolis in the USA, Shanghai (China) and Bangalore (India). ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions is part of the Industrial Quality & Research segment.

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