ELMDAS Co., Alexandria, PA

Nov 1989 - Mar 2001 President / Proprietor

Philips Business Card

ELMDAS Co. was founded at the outset to manufacture data acquisition boards and software for the IBM PC for the purpose of capturing SEM images (from multiple signal sources) to digital images on the PC for immediate use by word processing and other programs. The basis for the risk was that the cost of replacing Polaroid film with digital images was attractive, and secondarily, that a software based scan controller in the PC could bring improved methods of imaging.

The hardware/software development environment consisted of a program called DMEE for schematic capture and PCB design, and Borland C++ for software development. All versions of the DRV-2000 interface PCB were for the IBM PC/AT bus,and contained:

This DigiSEM Link will launch the DigiSEM documentation CD which provides a great overview of the main product I developed (in my garage), sold and installed in hundreds of 'top shelf' research institutions. These institutions included National Laboratories, CIA, FBI, NSA, Major Universities, and many Fortune 500 level research labs. The CD was to assist in installation, calibration and use of the DigiSEM/DRV-2000 system. This launches in a new window, and will not install DigiSEM on your PC. See it!

The basic hardware platform allowed various software packages to be written, a few include:

The various 'black boxes' shown in the image below were required for certain SEM models. These were manufactured using an inexpensive milling machine called a 'Shoptask', which I retrofitted with CNC control. The overlays (labels) are a bi-color plastic material which was engraved using a home-made CNC engraver. The engraver was made using control software to convert HPGL to stepper motor energization patterns at the IBM PC parallel port. These patterns drove an X-Y microscope stage to which a Dremmel tool was mounted in the Z axis.

I "dabbled" in a digital BSE detector, which simultaneously digitized the BSE images produced by 4 separate detectors. This used two DRV-2000 interface boards and software which performed math on the data streams to render topographic views of the image in real time.

All aspects of hardware manufacturing were accomplished in my garage-workshop. Approximately 250 systems were sold nationwide to clients which represent the apex of US technological innovation. These clients included national laboratories, major universities, and R&D departments of major technology corporations.

When the SEM manufacturers introduced the first truly PC compatible SEM models, DRV-2000 sales were limited to upgrading older SEM models, even though the DRV-2000 retained many features not found in the new SEM's of that day (2000) and of today. Installed systems were replaced through normal capitol equipment replacement of the SEM's whose useful lives they extended. The last known active client is: Bart Cannon, at Cannon Microprobe: http://www.cannonmicroprobe.com/

DRV-2000, software and interfaces
The DRV-2000 SEM->PC image acquisition system. This kit allowed SEM users to have the electron beam of their SEM scan under PC generated coordinates, as the PC generated a scan, images were digitized and recorded in TIFF format, ready to import into any PC based software for analysis, procissing, or report generation. This saved significant quantities of Polaroid film, which at this time, around 1989, was the only method to take a hardcopy of an image from an SEM.