Project Partners

Countries involved in the Project

  • Unimetrik
  • Trimek
  • SIOS
  • IBS
  • Datapixel
  • Nascatec
  • Noliac
  • Philips
  • Mahr
  • Innovalia Association
  • PTB
  • Tekniker
  • CMI
  • DTU
  • TU Ilmenau


Project Objectives


Metrology is required at any stage of development and production. For conventional industries (e.g. automotive), classical coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) allow to deliver flexible off-the-shelf solutions for most R&D and process control problems. To inspect a new component only requires measurement program changes, no different equipment. As a result of this project, this highly flexible “CMM approach” shall be applicable to the micro- and nano-components’ world too, relieving production planners from the burden to find suitable measurement systems for each new com­ponent and for each stage of its production. Please refer to: “The need for measurement and testing in nano technology”, Position Paper for Community R&D by a high level expert group (compiled by Horst Kunzmann and Kim Carneiro).

A CMM for industrial quality inspection of micro parts needs to be typically accurate to 100 nm in XYZ. In some applications, particularly for the calibration of standards and reference parts some 10-20 nm accuracy are needed. Today this accuracy is reached, but only in 1D- and 2D; in 3D an improvement of a factor of at least 5 is missing. Pursuing these accuracies, we have identified a number of still lacking technologies: 3D-probes to localize points on objects with this accuracy; reference objects to calibrate/verify such accurate CMMs; calibration facilities for these small 3D reference-objects; specifications for purchase contracts and to verify CMMs used for micro parts; means to measure inside holes with sub-micrometer radii, on steep slopes and behind obstructions; an exchanging capability for the pro­bes during measurement (many objects contain different features that require measurement with different physical sensor principles); concepts to localize (pre-measure) microscopic features on an object (not breaking the probes thereby) and in this context software to navigate around a microscopic object; a technology to measure the same object with different probes in one coordinate system (3D-fiducial-micro-points on the object holder measurable by all probes); concepts to estimate measurement uncertainties; software suitable for feature extraction from measurements with multiple probes; software to stitch together and evaluate multiple views of an object; rules and standards concerning tolerances for micro parts’ features and how to verify compliance with these specs; and a means to inform the growing community of potential users about the tech­nologies available.


The main “visible” breakthroughs will be the following:

Breakthrough on industry level: To reach 100 nm uncertainty and a true structural resolution of 100 nm in 3D with all probes and envisaged CMMs will satisfy most needs from micro components manufacturing. Accuracy, true 3D capability and structural resolution are separate development targets.

Breakthrough on reference level: To be able to verify and calibrate 3D mircro CMMs, reference artefacts and related methods to calibrate these artefacts shall be developed.

Expected impact

he volume of classical CMMs sold is about 106 EURO a year with a substantial and continuous rise in multi-sensor CMMs for small features for now more than a decade. Micro- and nano-CMMs are supposed to experience a similar rise comparable to that of multi-sensor CMMs, which assures the future market for the project developments. The project results will create positive feedback on the development of micro- and nano-technologies (2005: 70x106 EURO): the to-be-developed micro-coordinate metrology is here an enabling technology: Micro and nano technologies will develop faster, if the required metrology exists and people have sufficient know-how in applying it. As a consequence this will create more confidence in micro- and nano-products. This project will also create reference standards and future ISO specification and verification rules for micro- and nano- components and for measuring instruments performance, thus removing ambiguities in setting up purchase contracts and in verifying compliance. This project will create opportunities for SMEs to be suppliers of the developed metrology components and systems.