FTR - Thin film sensor for high resolution thickness measurement

Thin films are playing an increasingly important role in both technical and creative applications. Depending on the application, the functionality of the coating can be significantly influenced by its thickness. Accordingly, the exact determination of the coating thickness is of decisive importance both in development as well as in process and quality control.

FRT provides the ideal surface measuring tool for every coating: Whether laboratory, development, quality assurance or production - with the multi-sensor measuring tools of the MicroProf® series you can measure your coatings easily and non-contact. The determination of the coating thickness can be combined with topography measurements and can also be fully automated.

For the determination of thin films in the sub-micrometer range, from a few tens of nanometers up to several tens of micrometers, as well as for the analysis of complex multilayer structures with high resolution, the FTR sensor was developed in-house.

The FTR is an optical thin-film reflectometer for the thickness measurement of transparent, thin films and layer stacks. The reflectometric method is characterized by the non-contact, non-destructive measurement with very high resolution. Depending on the requirements, the thin-film sensor is used in variants with different wavelength ranges, so that optimum measuring conditions are offered for different materials and layer thicknesses. For small structures, the lateral resolution can be increased up to 5 µm.

The sensor is used for measurement tasks in semiconductor, MEMS and solar technology, in the optical and metal processing industry as well as in medical applications. Examples of applications include thickness measurements of oxides, nitrides, photoresists and other optically transparent layers.

The measurement of thin layers with the FTR is based on the superposition of partial waves reflected at the interfaces of a layer. The evaluation of the reflection spectra of the interferometric sensor is carried out by means of a powerful software developed together with our film thickness experts. Depending on the thickness of the film and the layer system, both an evaluation by means of FFT (Fast Fourier Transformation) and a model-based fit based on the material data or a combination of both methods are used. Thus, very thin layers in the nanometer range can be analyzed with high resolution and fast measurement results can be achieved. An extensive database with refractive indices and absorption coefficients of a wide range of materials such as glasses, semiconductors, oxides, polymers, etc., which can be easily expanded by the user, is included. In conjunction with our measuring tools, the FTR can be used to generate layer thickness profiles and mappings with high lateral resolution in addition to point measurements. The sensor is also ideally suited for integration into in-line control.

In addition, this sensor allows the analysis of multilayer systems with up to ten layers. Transparent substrates coated on both sides can also be modelled. Components can be characterized in which the layer system is located between thicker materials, such as OLEDs that are encapsulated with glass on one side and have a metal electrode on the other.

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