Elastic scattering and diffraction effects can be used to analyze surface structures non-destructively or to localize particles. In this process, electromagnetic radiation, often in the form of visible light, is used. To achieve the highest possible resolution, which can be below Abbe’s resolution limit (nanometer range), UV or DUV laser light as well as soft X-rays are also used.
Scatterometers are widely used in metrology for determining the roughness of polished and roughened surfaces in semiconductor and precision machining industries. They provide a fast, non-contact alternative to traditional touch probe methods for evaluating the topography of a surface. Scatterometers are vacuum compatible, insensitive to vibrations and can be easily integrated into surface processing or even other measuring devices.