Increasing deployment of optical fiber networks and the need for reliable high bandwidth make the task of inspecting optical fiber connector end faces a crucial process that must not be neglected. Traditional end face inspections are usually performed by manual visual methods, which are low in efficiency and poor in precision for long-term industrial applications. More seriously, the inspection results cannot be quantified for subsequent analysis. Aiming at the characteristics of typical defects in the inspection process for optical fiber end faces, we propose a novel method, “difference of min-max ranking filtering” (DO2MR), for detection of region-based defects, e.g., dirt, oil, contamination, pits, and chips, and a special model, a “linear enhancement inspector” (LEI), for the detection of scratches. The DO2MR is a morphology method that intends to determine whether a pixel belongs to a defective region by comparing the difference of gray values of pixels in the neighborhood around the pixel. The LEI is also a morphology method that is designed to search for scratches at different orientations with a special linear detector. These two approaches can be easily integrated into optical inspection equipment for automatic quality verification. As far as we know, this is the first time that complete defect detection methods for optical fiber end faces are available in the literature. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed DO2MR and LEI models yield good comprehensive performance with high precision and accepted recall rates, and the image-level detection accuracies reach 96.0 and 89.3%, respectively.
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