This paper introduces a new concept for digitizing the three dimensional paper structure, based on a fully automated microtomy process and light microscopy. The microscope can be moved in all three directions of space with high accuracy in order to be able to digitize large samples with high spatial resolution. All components are controlled by a PC interface which enables an
automated digitization process.
The literature concerning 3D analysis of paper structure is reviewed. Non destructive and destructive techniques are compared.
Image analysis algorithms for creation of a detailed digital representation are described. This digital data set is analyzed, to derive characteristics of the paper structure.
As a first example of possible applications the analysis of the 3D coating layer formation is presented. The coating layer is detected by means of image analysis based on a 3D color segmentation concept. Initial experiments on analyzing coated paper samples prove the applicability of the concept.
The correctness of the implemented sample digitization process and following image analysis was validated.