Surface profilometry is a contact measurement technique in which a diamond-tipped stylus is used to measure surface topography as it moves across the surface of a specimen.
It is common to use a profilometer to measure film thickness and surface texture. Examples include thickness measurements made after spin coating or magnetron sputter deposition and height measurements that are used to calibrate the thickness monitor on a deposition system. Another important application is the measurement of crater depths for surface analysis methods that use depth profiling, such as Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). Materials such as semiconductors, polymers, metals, and ceramics are commonly measured using this instrument.