ZEISS Solutions for Materialography​

Materials get complex.​ Analysis gets simple.​

Mastering complexity. ​With Microscopy Solutions from ZEISS.​

The tasks in materialography are constantly changing and the performance requirements are increasing. Components are becoming ever more complex, coatings ever thinner. Miniaturization in electronics is progressing. New composite materials are being used in lightweight construction in particular. Sustainable materials and additively manufactured components pose particular challenges in terms of material characterization. At the same time the defect tolerances are generally decreasing, making more precise analyses are required. Materials testing laboratories must keep pace with these developments. They are under increasing time pressure. ZEISS offers materialographers a unique depth of microscopes, software and services to effectively solve the testing effectively. In addition, ZEISS Microscopy Solutions make it particularly easy for all users, because thanks to deep learning algorithms, results are more reliable and faster than ever before.

Flawless and efficient microscopy.​ From the sample to the result.​

In materialography, meaningful microscopy results are only guaranteed if the preceding process steps have also been carried out without errors. ZEISS provides suitable microscopes to make the entire analysis process reliable and efficient: from sample extraction and preparation to image acquisition, image processing and evaluation.

Metal surface at 24x magnification
Polarization contrast image for inspecting the etching process​
Dark-field contrast image of a Fosterit coating​
Automatic image segmentation with ZEISS ZEN core​
3D imaging of the crystal structure of titanium

Microscopes exemplary

ZEISS Stemi 508​

Stereo microscope with 8:1 zoom​
Resolution: 1 µm​

ZEISS Axioscope 5

Partly motorized light microscope with coded elements
Resolution: 0,7 µm​

ZEISS Axio Imager​

Microscope system for automated material analysis
Resolution: 250 nm​


SEM for industrial quality analysis
Resolution: 2 nm

ZEISS Versa​

X-ray microscope for non-destructive 3D imaging
3D Resolution: 40 nm

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Exemplary microscopy program for the materials laboratory: light and digital microscopy

ZEISS Stemi 305/508

Inspection of the sample with stereo microscopes ZEISS Stemi 305/508

ZEISS Axio Imager

Automated material analysis, with the fully motorized microscopy system ZEISS Axio Imager

ZEISS Axio Zoom.V16

Large sample fields, topography with the stereo zoom microscope ZEISS Axio Zoom.V16

ZEISS Axiovert 5/7

Large and heavy samples with the inverted microscope ZEISS Axiovert 5/7

ZEISS Axioscope

Routine tasks in the materials laboratory with the reflected light microscope ZEISS Axioscope

ZEISS Smartzoom 5

Repeated sample analyses and topography with the automated digital microscope ZEISS Smartzoom 5

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Exemplary microscopy program for the materials laboratory: Scanning electron and X-ray microscopy


Non-destructive 3D X-ray imaging with high-resolution X-ray microscope ZEISS CrystalCT


High quality imaging with field Emission Scanning Electron Microscope ZEISS Sigma


Modular electron microscopy with scanning electron microscope ZEISS EVO

ZEISS ZEN core is the standardized solution for imaging, segmentation, analysis and data connectivity in the materials laboratory. Because the user interface can be configured according to the task at hand, even untrained users can operate the software easily and safely. ZEN core uses artificial intelligence to largely automate manually complex work steps such as segmentation. The simple correlation of light, digital and electron microscopy enables a deeper understanding of microstructure and failure analysis. Several laboratory locations can be connected via ZEISS ZEN core with each other.

Your control center for all tasks.​

ZEISS ZEN core software. ​


With ZEISS ZEN core, different microscope types and laboratory locations can be connected with each other.

Faster and more reliable ­testing using deep learning

ZEISS ZEN core provides automated image analysis for particle and phase analysis. Deep learning techniques significantly reduce the workload for these applications and always work reproducibly, according to the same trained patterns, regardless of the user and location. The microscope image of an aluminium alloy is automatically segmented using deep learning. The algorithm reliably identifies individual grains. Touching and overlapping objects can be separated (instance segmentation).

Segmentation from ZEISS arivis Cloud

Latest deep learning models: Automatic AI-supported determination of the grain boundaries of a ceramic, an austenitic steel, a hard metal and a copper-based alloy. In this example, it was sufficient to train a deep learning model to reliably recognize the grain boundaries of all four materials.

Deep learning

Correlation with light, digital and electron microscopes

Shuttle & Find


Different microscopes - one correlated evaluation

For many applications, it makes sense to analyse the same sample with both a light and an electron microscope. The different magnification levels and contrasts together provide a deeper understanding of the sample condition. With ZEISS ZEN Connect, you can efficiently overlay multimodal image data together and quickly switch from the overall view to a high-resolution detailed display. All image data, including that from third-party providers, can be conveniently aligned, overlaid and displayed in context with ZEISS ZEN Connect.

ZEISS ZEN core tool kits

ZEISS ZEN core has a modular structure and can be individually expanded with the tools you need.

Among other things, ZEISS offers these supplementary toolkits:

  • Material apps
    Tools for grain size analyses, cast iron analyses, multiphase analyses, reference series comparisons and coating thickness measurements
  • AI toolkit
    AI application kit for segmentation, object classification and image denoising, including training interfaces
  • 2D toolkit image analysis
    2D image analysis using automatic measurement programmes, including advanced processing
  • Developer toolkit
    Programming of customised macros in the Python programming ­language, control of ZEISS ZEN core via an API interface
  • Data storage
    Central SQL-based image database for intelligent data management with integrated user and access management
  • Connect Toolkit
    ZEISS ZEN Connect allows you to align, overlay and correlate multimodal image data from different microscope types.

Material characterization with ZEISS ZEN core​

Easy standard-compliant evaluation​

Technical ceramics, medical technology​
CFRP, aerospace industry​
Solar cell, renewable energies​
Gray cast iron, systems engineering​
Steel, systems engineering​


Grain sizes​
Grain size distribution ​

Phase fraction in percent by area​

Layer thicknesses​
Automatic edge detection​

Cast iron ​
Size, shape and distribution​ of cast particles ​

Quantity and size of oxides, sulfides, nitrides etc.


Quantify the crystallographic structure of your materials according to international standards.​

With this module, you can determine phases both by particle size and by the percentage of the respective surface area of a phase. An important application is the investigation of porosity.​

Measure the thickness of coatings and platings or the depth of hardened surfaces in the cross-section of a sample. Evaluate complex coating systems either automatically or interactively and output the results in a clear report.​

Analyze the shape and size of graphite particles in cast iron fully automatically and determine the percentage of graphite particles by area.​

With this module, you can examine non-metallic inclusions in steel to assess steel purity. The standards-based automated workflow solution includes sample collection, inclusion classification and inclusion evaluation as well as result documentation and archiving.​

  • Example battery technology:​

    Grain size analysis of NCM cathode particles​

    The only marginally visible grain boundaries of NCM cathode particles can be revealed using a ZEISS electron microscope with an Inlense-EsB detector. An AI algorithm then automatically and reliably segments the microscope image. The image analyzed in this way can be used to determine the grain size distribution, for example.​

  • Example: Multiphase analysis​

    on a thermal spray coating​

    Thermal spray coatings improve the resistance of the substrate material to corrosion, heat or wear, among other things. The porosity of a metallographically prepared sample can be easily determined using AI-supported multiphase analysis. The porosity allows conclusions to be drawn about the structure and hardness of the spray coating.​

Stéphane Monod

It couldn't be simpler, ... and no matter who would examine this sample, the measurement results would always be the same.

Stéphane Monod

Quality Management at Smith+Nephew's in Aarau. Read more and download the flyer "It couldn't be simpler."

Learn more about our ZEISS Solutions for Materialography

  • ZEISS and Smith&Nephew
  • Control is better: SPC inspects materials with ZEISS microscopy​
  • More intelligent. More time-saving. ZEISS ZEN Intellesis.

  • Metallography and material testing with the ZEISS ZEN core material modules.​

  • Assured quality in steel production: ZEISS Non-Metallic Inclusion Analysis (NMI)

  • ZEISS ZEN Connect: Microscopy images and analysis data in an overall context. ​

  • ZEISS ZEN Data Storage: Centralized data management in networked laboratory environments.​

  • AI speeds up the measurement process AI-supported ZEISS solution checks implant coatings automatically.​
    AI speeds up the measurement process
  • SPC Werkstofflabor GmbH supports steel producers and processors as a service partner - relying on a combination of light and scanning electron microscopy from ZEISS​
    Control is better: SPC inspects materials with ZEISS microscopy​
  • By using proven machine learning techniques such as pixel classification or deep learning, ZEISS ZEN Intellesis enables even non-experts to achieve robust and reproducible segmentation results. Simply load your image, define your classes, label the pixels, train your model and perform segmentation.​
    More intelligent. More time-saving. ZEISS ZEN Intellesis.​
  • How can you speed up your metallographic examinations? How do you deal with new materials? How do you avoid incorrect results? How do you ensure productivity in the laboratory? Instead of just acquiring functions, with ZEN core you get a real productivity package and take your material examinations to the next level​
    Metallography and material testing with the ZEISS ZEN core material modules.​
  • Steel is one of the most widely used materials in the world. Despite their small size, non-metallic inclusions can affect the mechanical properties as well as the processing and corrosion behavior of steel. ZEN Non-Metallic Inclusions is your solution for fast and reliable NMI analysis.​
    Assured quality in steel production: ZEISS Non-Metallic Inclusion Analysis (NMI)
  • With ZEN Connect you can visualize different microscopy images and data of a sample - in their context in a common location. Discover the connections between image data from different scales. You can also benefit from integrated reporting on the connected data sets.​
    ZEISS ZEN Connect: Microscopy images and analysis data in an overall context. ​
  • ZEN Data Storage enables the centralized management of device presets, workflows, image data and reports from different systems and laboratory locations. Separate microscopic image acquisition from downstream analysis tasks to make laboratory work even more efficient.​
    ZEISS ZEN Data Storage: Centralized data management in networked laboratory environments.​
Thomas Schaupp

Accurate, reliable results are of course important, but so is obtaining them quickly.

Thomas Schaupp

Laboratory Manager at the accredited materials laboratory SPC. Read more and download the flyer "Steel must last."

Microscopy applications for materialography:

Customer examples from the industry for the industry​

It couldn't be simpler.​

AI-supported ZEISS solution checks implant coatings automatically.​

Pioneer for e-mobility.​

E-drive: GROB and ZEISS make production efficient and error-free.​

Combined ZEISS microscopy for materials testing​

Combination of light and scanning electron microscopy from ZEISS convinces.


  • ZEISS IMS Materialography Brochure EN PDF

    Pages: 19
    File size: 4 MB
  • ZEISS IQS, Mic and Medical, Success Story, SmithandNephew, EN, PDF

    Pages: 6
    File size: 12 MB
  • ZEISS IQS, Mic and NEV, Success Story, GROB, EN, PDF

    Pages: 7
    File size: 13 MB
  • ZEISS IQS, Customer story, SPC, Mic, Metallog, EN, Flyer

    Pages: 7
    File size: 17 MB

Contact us​

Interested in exploring our products or services further? We're excited to offer you more details or a live demo, either remotely or in person.​

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