Profilometer is used to measure a surface’s profile, in order to quantify its roughness. Vertical resolution is usually in the nanometre range, though lateral resolution is usually poorer.

Contact profilometers, Veeco Dektak 150

A diamond stylus is moved vertically in contact with a sample and then moved laterally across the sample for a specified distance and specified contact force. A profilometer can measure small surface variations in vertical stylus displacement as a function of position. A typical profilometer can measure small vertical features ranging in height from 10 nanometres to 1 millimetre. The height position of the diamond stylus generates an analog signal which is converted into a digital signal stored, analyzed and displayed. The radius of diamond stylus ranges from 20 nanometres to 25 μm, and the horizontal resolution is controlled by the scan speed and data signal sampling rate. The stylus tracking force can range from less than 1 to 50 milligrams.

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