Hinds Instruments Announces PEM-based Polarization Imaging

Hinds Instruments introduces the Exicor® MicroImager™, first in a line of birefringence imaging products based on Hinds photoelastic modulator (PEM) technology


Hillsboro, Oregon, April 3, 2014 – Hinds Instruments, a leading global supplier of photoelastic modulators (PEMs) recently unveiled a new line of birefringence imaging products. The first product in the line, the Exicor® MicroImager™, was announced February 1st at the SPIE BiOS and Photonics West Exhibitions in San Francisco.

Hinds has manufactured and developed PEMs for nearly 40 years. For more than 15 years Hinds has built point-based scanning birefringence measurement solutions, marketed under the Exicor® brand. The superior polarization modulation capabilities of the PEM have delivered the highest sensitivity birefringence measurement solutions on the market. Now our expertise and technology have been applied to develop a superior birefringence imaging product for applications requiring the unique features offered by this solution: resolution and speed.

The Exicor® MicroImager™ offers researchers in academia and industry the ability to evaluate birefringence of both biological and industrial materials. With a digital resolution of 0.01 nm, a detection limit (noise floor) of 0.3 nm and a measurement range of beyond 300 nm (using red light), this new instrument offers quick and reliable measurements in an integrated system package that includes camera, optics, electronics, sample stage hardware and software.

The standard system offers evaluations at three wavelengths (red, green, and blue) and two levels of magnification: a 2X objective offers 5 micron resolution, and a 5X objective offers 2 micron resolution. Measuring at different wavelengths offers several advantages, including wavelength flexibility for sample color discrimination and improved order determination for high birefringence structures. A multi-order birefringence “unwrapping” option is available with the system.

Exicor MicroImager

Exicor® MicroImager™


Mosquito Larvae 5X Magnification

Left: Plastic ruler at 2X magnification showing both retardation and angle; Right: Mosquito larvae at 5X magnification showing both retardation and angle


Planned features and complementary products in the Hinds Exicor imaging product line include higher magnification optics for the MicroImager product, a “Midfield” imaging system designed for sample sizes up to 160mm X 160 mm, and “image stitching” for larger sample sizes. In addition, as with existing Exicor birefringence measurement products, the product spectral range will be extended to include UV and IR wavelengths.

According to Dr. Bob Wang, Hinds Director of Technology and Senior Application Scientist, “The polarization community has always wanted to do imaging using PEMs. But it is challenging to use a 30 fps camera with a 50 kHz PEM. Researchers have tried some clever tricks with limited success. I am very proud that our research group, led by Dr. John Freudenthal, was able to achieve the goal of true PEM imaging. We are very pleased to provide the first in a series of commercial products that will bring the benefits of PEMs to imaging. This development represents a significant move forward in birefringence measurement for both industrial and biological samples.”

Hinds Instruments, Inc. is the world leader in developing and supplying polarization modulation technology for a broad range of applications. With 40+ years of polarization modulation experience, Hinds Instruments PEM-based solutions are proven tools for laboratory and research applications. Hinds’ family of products includes modulators, Stokes polarimeters, Mueller matrix polarimeters, MOKE measurement systems and Exicor® birefringence measurement systems. For more information, please contact Hinds Instruments.