Highly homogeneous glasses and crystalline materials such as CaF<sub>2</sub> are used in high-end microlithographic applications.
Residual stresses in the material lead to stress birefringence and thus to imaging errors, which is undesirable for
semiconductor manufacture in view of the ever smaller structure sizes. In order to meet the increasing requirements
regarding repeatability, lateral resolution and measuring speed, a new type of automated imaging polarimeter has been
developed. The measuring apparatus determines the two-dimensional stress birefringence distribution within a large field
of view at a high lateral resolution. The short measuring time enables a high sample throughput and makes it possible to
analyze time- and temperature-dependent alterations.