A characteristic feature of a supersmooth surface is its low scatter. The scatter is proportional to the square of the rms surface roughness. Therefore, light scattering is a suitable and nondestructive method for characterization of smooth surfaces. It is possible to detect scattering created by height differences of a few atomic layers but the lateral sensitivity is limited to the order of the wavelength, ~0.5μm. The new F 1048-87 ASTM standard test method for measuring the effective surface roughness of optical components is based on total integrated scattering (TIS). The amount of scattering, caused by the surface roughness, is of primary interest for optical applications, while the roughness itself is of greater concern in the fields of microelectronics and magnetic memory storage. This paper will highlight the use of a low noise TIS instrument for characterization of sub-Å roughness on semiconductor wafers, for thin film characterization, and for detection of traces of contamination on silicon surfaces.
Lars Mattsson, Lars Mattsson,
"Characterization Of Supersmooth Surfaces By Light Scattering Techniques", Proc. SPIE 1009, Surface Measurement and Characterization, (21 March 1989); doi: 10.1117/12.949168; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.949168