Handheld Surface Analyst™

Data-Driven Surface Quality Control for Manufacturing

The Surface Analyst™ is Brighton Science's handheld surface inspection device that allows manufacturers to rapidly quantify the quality of material surfaces after cleaning processes and before applications such as bonding, coating, sealing, painting or printing.

Build a Digital Thread for Surface Preparation

Critical material surfaces are found throughout the entire product lifecycle. Using the Surface Analyst, businesses can create a digital thread of surface quality and surface preparation. This digital thread enables risk reduction, allows faster time to launch, reduces waste and unlocks optimization opportunities throughout the product lifecycle from product development, production and quality.


Download the Handheld Surface Analyst Data Sheet

Handheld Surface Analyst Product Features

  • Universal Inspection Head

  • Made for Manufacturing

  • Top Down Inspection

  • Smart Manufacturing

  • Powered by Archer Software

  • Accessories

A Universal Design Built for Unique Applications

The Universal Inspection Head's rugged design can withstand rough production environments while providing ultimate inspection accuracy.

This innovative design includes the ability to utilize custom-designed interchangeable inspection attachments. Custom inspection attachments meet the needs of every unique and challenging application—whether inspecting deep and narrow channels, edges, tubing, small parts, or any other configuration.

Extended Controls, Status Lights & Audible Feedback

The Universal Inspection Head includes extended controls—buttons, status lights and audible feedback—to enable users to conduct inspections with one hand and without looking at the screen.

Quick-Start Test Plan

The Quick-Start Test Plan leverages Brighton Science's expertise and experience to streamline your acquisition of meaningful data by using the Surface Analyst. Modules included within the Quick-Start Test Plan include:

  1. A Test Plan customized for your particular application
  2. The Handheld Surface Analyst
  3. Process Analytics Software tailored to your specific needs
  4. Auto Profile Selection using QR codes

Brighton Science will help you interpret your data to uncover insights that can be used to drive production-based process improvements. By having up-to-date data available at your fingertips, you will have increased manufacturing agility and will be able to quickly pivot to new solutions.

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QR Code Reading

The Universal Head includes QR Code Reading that allows users to easily load Surface Analyst material profiles, process workflows and customized metadata alongside surface inspection results. QR Code Reading reduces human error by eliminating the need for users to manually enter this information into the device while on the busy manufacturing floor.

User Management

This feature allows management to add individual user profiles and if necessary, limit capabilities to eliminate unwanted changes to device settings. Each inspection record automatically logs the username conducting the inspection for easy tracking and auditing purposes.


The Handheld Surface Analyst provides real-time output of inspection data into Manufacturing Execution Systems via RS232 output or ethernet API.

Enhanced Ballistic Deposition

Ballistic Deposition is Brighton Science's patented approach to depositing a drop of fluid to measure real-world surfaces that may vary in roughness, chemical variation and complex geometries (vertical, upside down, small).

After the drop is deposited, this innovative method uses a top-down view to take a precise image of the drop in order to measure the contact angle.

GEM Drop

GEM Drop is the dispense system that meticulously builds the perfect fluid drop on material surfaces for the most reliable and accurate contact angle measurement.

GEM Drop takes sensitive surface chemistry measurements out of the laboratory and puts them directly on the production line. This approach allows for precise inspections in crevices and tiny drops on very complex materials.


Lucent is a unique lighting configuration that controls the illumination of the surface being inspected.

By providing the ideal lighting environment, the Surface Analyst captures high-quality images and can easily manage challenging surfaces with varying finishes and reflectivity.

Surface Profiles

Using the Surface Profiles feature, Admins can create unique profiles with customized inspection parameters to increase accuracy when measuring dissimilar materials.

Surface Profiles ensure precise measurements on materials with varying finishes, textures, conditions, or surface preparations.

Dynamic Detection

This innovative approach to powerful image analysis provides the most precise top-down measurement of contact angle.

Dynamic Detection enables the device to provide a contact angle that more accurately represents the droplet's interaction with the surface, therefore it is capable of exceeding the accuracy of laboratory-type goniometer contact angle measurements.

Dynamic Detection's combination of image analysis tool-sets are so intelligent, it provides perfect contact angle results in imperfect situations.

Wetting Analytics

The Wetting Analytics feature analyzes dynamic drop wet-out and alerts user to the presence of a water-soluble chemical on the material. This information is vitally important for processes that include cleaning and washing steps where improper rinsing can leave surfactants, detergents, or other hydrophilic agents on the surface.

For some applications, water-soluble agents are a necessary component of a coating, and for others it is a detrimental contaminant in an adhesion, coating, or sealing process.

Brighton Science's Wetting Analytics software will quantify the amount and uniformity of these substances to ensure downstream product performance.

Pass/Fail Mode

Enabling this mode allows management to input customizable pass/fail tolerances that read out to the operator simply, as Pass or Fail. This provides the results in a simple way without the operator having to understand the meaning of the inspection number.

Near Failure Notification

Sometimes, although surfaces are still "passing" the inspection phase, the process is actually approaching failure. This feature is designed to warn users if their process is slowly drifting toward the fail-limit. When a test is near the set failure tolerance, the Pass/Fail message turns yellow.

Custom Inspection Attachments

Whether you are inspecting a heavily dimpled golf ball, a fully-populated PCB board, a convex lens or a metal gasket with narrow channels, Brighton Science's custom inspection attachments make the job as easy as though it were a flat surface.

Brighton Science designs custom attachments, giving users complete control over where the measurement is taken on the surface to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Quality Check Station

Partner with Brighton Science to design a custom Surface Check Station that will keep either the Handheld Surface Analyst stationary, or the material surface in place.

Brighton Science's Surface Check Stations remove any variability in inspection placement and ensure precise measurements across complex-shaped products.

Check Stations feature the ability to communicate and connect to MES through RS232 and ethernet API.

Wearable Sling

The new, wearable Surface Analyst Sling provides a convenient, hands-free method for holstering the device to the body, providing greater agility and freedom of movement on the manufacturing floor.

Extended Tether

Users have the option for an extended tether--up to 6 meters--for an easier reach into more challenging spaces.

The Extended Tether can be combined with the use of a Quality Check Station to fix the Surface Analyst device in place, allowing for precise and repeatable inspection of large material surfaces without the need to move the device.


Brighton Science's Guide
to Adhesion Science for Flawless Manufacturing

Surface Analyst FAQ

How does the Surface Analyst determine surface quality? down-arrow

Surface Quality means different things to different people. For those interested in surface characteristics that depend on surface chemical composition and uniformity (such as cleanliness, coating adhesion, and adhesive bond performance), the contact angle-based measurement performed by the Handheld Surface Analyst provides unequalled sensitivity to minute changes in these properties.

With our patented Ballistic Deposition technology, the Handheld Surface Analyst is sensitive to the contact angle hysteresis of a surface. This makes the Surface Analyst significantly more sensitive to most surface chemical properties than traditional goniometers.

What makes the Surface Analyst different than a side-view goniometer? down-arrow

One of the most important features of the Handheld Surface Analyst is its innovative use of top-down imaging of the deposited drop, rather than the side view used by laboratory-type goniometers.

Brighton Science's top-down approach allows contact angle measurements to be obtained on surfaces of real-world objects that have features or orientations that prevent side viewing of a drop. Examples of these types of surfaces include: a populated circuit board, a tiny catheter, a machined metal casting, or a rough composite material surface where the hills and valleys prevent seeing the drop's edge with a side view.

When a drop of fluid is deposited on a real-world surface, it rarely produces a perfectly round droplet due to texture or chemical heterogeneity of the surface. This means there will be a range of contact angles around the drop perimeter. A side-view measurement only measures 2 of those angles and can give an erroneous picture of the true surface state.

The Surface Analyst with Dynamic Detection uses a patented top-down imaging approach to measure up to 200 points around the entire drop.

This innovative measurement provides a contact angle that more accurately represents the droplet's interaction with the surface and provides precise information about the true state of the surface.

Can the Surface Analyst measure on different types of surfaces? down-arrow

The Handheld Surface Analyst has been used successfully on a wide variety of surfaces including: polymer films, metal castings, medical catheters, semiconductors, composite material, populated circuit boards, structural glass and much more. For applications where surface chemical properties are important, the Surface Analyst can provide rapid, quantitative feedback regarding the surface's quality, treatment level, cleanliness, and consistency.

Does surface roughness affect contact angle measurement accuracy? down-arrow

Interrogation of rough surfaces is another situation where the Handheld Surface Analyst excels over all other contact-angle based measurements. Unlike side view goniometers where surface roughness obscures the view of the drop edge, the top-down contact angle measurement of the Surface Analyst images the entire drop perimeter regardless of roughness and returns the true average contact angle of the entire drop perimeter. The resulting number reflects the true surface state.

How accurate is the Surface Analyst at measuring contact angle? down-arrow

The Handheld Surface Analyst is calibrated to match a NIST-traceable laboratory goniometer. It repeatedly proves to have higher precision (i.e. more repeatable) than sideview goniometers on real-world surfaces.

On chemically uniform surfaces, contact angle measurements using the Surface Analyst show standard deviations of less than one degree.

Apply Surface Intelligence Throughout Manufacturing

From Supply Chain to Shipment

Reduce risk and build better products by leveraging Surface Intelligence data to SOLVE, PREVENT, and CONTROL surfaces throughout the entire manufacturing process.


Hard-to-Inspect Surface? Not a problem!

Take surface quality inspections in places you never thought possible. Partner with Brighton Science to design custom inspection attachments and fixtures for your unique application.


The Advanced Guide to Transforming
Product Development Through Surface Intelligence.

Brighton Science is the global leader in surface intelligence.

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