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Wide Area 3D Patterned Light Measurement (VR)

Wide Area 3D / Patterned Light measurements (also called “VR,” due to a popular instrument used in this method) encompass a class of optical profilometry techniques used to visualize the surface topography of large-sized samples.


  • Greatest scan area among optical profilometry techniques (cm scale)
  • High vertical resolution ( limit < 5 um) with balanced lateral resolution ( ~5 um)
  • Non-destructive analysis


  • Contour and warp will affect surface roughness analysis
  • Highly transparent or specular reflective surfaces
  • High aspect ratio dimensions that block the light source

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Sample Requirements

Example Outputs

3D model output of a trapezoidal screw scanned from single angle; below is a 2D plot showing the critical dimensions of the threads.

From Keyence

Integrated analysis of 4 different samples, showing: (in leftmost column) top-down true-color images; (in middle column) 3D CAD models generated from the original Patterned Light scans with variable color-coded topographical features – including roughness (A) and total height (C); and (in rightmost column) 2D cross-sectional plots of bump height contrasting the critical dimension of the 4 prongs in each sample.

From Keyence

Terminal charge port connector for handheld charging dock.

From Keyence

Instruments Used

Keyence VR-5200

Keyence VR-5200

  • One-shot 3D Measurements: generate instant 3D CAD model from single scan
  • Fully automated stitching of expanded X-Y field of view
  • Magnification Range: 12x to 160x
  • Maximum Measurable Height Range:
    • 10 mm in Wide-Field Mode (magnification up to 50x)
    • 1 mm in High-Mag Mode (magnification 40x to 160x)
  • Height Accuracy:
    • ± 5 μm in Wide-Field Mode
    • ± 2 μm in High-Mag Mode
View Instrument Brochure

How VR Works

In a Patterned Light measurement, striped patterns of light are projected onto the sample at a known angle of incidence from opposing directions.

A camera mounted directly above the sample captures the distortion of the bands of light due to changes in the height of the samples surface. The measured distortions are triangulated among different patterns to generate a quantitative 3D model of the surface topography.

Unique to this technique, the generated 3D model is compatible for output as a CAD overlay for volumetric comparison in process and part evaluation.