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Linearizing the vertical scale of an interferometric microscope and its effect on step-height measurement



Thomas A. Germer, Thomas Brian Renegar, Ulf Griesmann, Johannes A. Soons


The vertical scale calibration of an interferometric microscope is important for establishing traceability of surface topography measurements to the International System of Units (SI) unit of length, the meter. Building on the calibration procedure for the amplification coefficient developed by de Groot and Beverage [Proc. SPIE 9526, 952610 (2015)], this paper describes a calibration procedure that yields the response curve for the entire vertical scan motion of a coherent scanning interferometric microscope. The method requires only a flat mirror as an artifact, a narrow band spectral filter, an aperture to reduce the effective numerical aperture, and the ability to raise and lower the microscope head so that the center of the interferogram can be varied within the scan range. The local frequency of the interferogram is determined by fitting sections of the interferogram to a sinusoidal function. The nonlinearity determined from the local frequency data can be used to estimate the uncertainty in uncorrected vertical height measurements. We describe how optical profile data can be corrected for nonlinearity due to dynamic effects in the scan motion and show that the correction improves the reproducibility of step height measurements by at least a factor of three and close to that of the repeatability.
Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties


coherent scanning interferometry, interferometry, microscopy, nonlinearity, step height, surface topography


Germer, T. , Renegar, T. , Griesmann, U. and Soons, J. (2024), Linearizing the vertical scale of an interferometric microscope and its effect on step-height measurement, Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties, [online],, (Accessed June 25, 2024)


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Created May 8, 2024, Updated May 30, 2024