Image Number 10 for United States Patent #7889322.
A specimen inspection stage implemented with a processing stage coupling mechanism provides a capability to conduct with maximum efficiency post-processing specimen inspections on-board a processing platform. Heavy inspection equipment is mounted on a specimen inspection stage that is separate from a processing stage. In a preferred embodiment, the processing stage moves in response to an applied motive force and performs laser-based processing operations on a specimen. While laser processing is ongoing, the specimen inspection stage remains parked in its home position. When it is time for post-processing inspection, a stage coupling and decoupling mechanism couples together the specimen inspection stage and the processing stage, which transports the specimen inspection stage to and from the specimen position.