Bridging the gap between nanometer and meter


The analysis of roughness and surface structure is becoming more and more technologically important. The demands on components and finished surfaces have increased enormously in the last years.

Whether it is semiconductors, nanotechnology or laser technology and optics, the trend towards downscaling can be observed in almost all industrial branches. This leads to smaller surface dimensions, in height or laterally.

Smaller structures result in better performance, less weight and energy consumption or special properties when it comes to nanotechnology. However, to design and manufacture these structures, R&D and production departments need flexible solutions for measurements with a high dynamic range from sub-nanometers to meters. Of course, metrological measuring tools must meet the same requirements. Otherwise, the transition from the nanoworld to the classical world cannot be realized with the usual dimensions.

The solution for high-resolution measurements in the nanometer range is atomic force microscopy (AFM). The AFM is available with a scanning range of up to 110 μm x 110 μm . The height measuring range is up to 22 μm. The resolution of the AFM in all 3 axes is better than 1 nm. The positioning in the AFM is done with the camera or an optical measurement. In this way, finding the measuring position in the AFM is always fast and precise.

Even with the sub-nm performance of atomic force microscopy (AFM), there is still one aspect that limits the use of AFMs for research laboratories and some high-tech companies: the very small image field of an AFM is not suitable for environments where time and ease of use are critical factors. The gap between the dimensions of modern industrial metrology and the nanoscale cannot be closed by AFM alone. Obviously, there is a need for additional sensors to complement AFM.

The FRT solution combines 2 measurement methods. This allows the investigation of large areas with lower resolution as well as smaller areas with highest resolution. The instrument works with a chromatic white light sensor in combination with an AFM, both permanently installed. Complete components (e.g. for quality control) can be measured with the optical sensor without changing the measuring system. In addition, the AFM allows measurements with nm resolution.

The optical sensor allows fast and precise topography and profile measurements for sample sizes up to 1000 mm x 1000 mm. The x, y resolution of the sensor is 1-2 μm. The height measuring range can be from 100 μm to 10 mm without moving the sensor. The maximum height resolution is 3 nm. The sensor is complemented by a CCD camera, which serves as a microscope and helps to define the measuring range.

We certainly have a solution for your specific task. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Our experts will be glad to take care of your needs and work out individual solutions for you.

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