Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Traceable Calibration of a Critical Dimension Atomic Force Microscope



Ronald G. Dixson, Ndubuisi G. Orji, Craig D. McGray, Jon C. Geist


The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has a multifaceted program in atomic force microscope (AFM) dimensional metrology. One component of this effort is a custom in-house metrology AFM, called the calibrated AFM (C-AFM). The NIST C-AFM has displacement metrology for all three axes traceable to the 633 nm wavelength of the iodine-stabilized He-Ne laser. A second major component of this program is the use of critical dimension atomic force microscopy (CD-AFM). CD-AFM is a commercially available AFM technology that uses flared tips and two-dimensional surface sensing to scan the sidewalls of near-vertical features. Features of this sort that are commonly encountered in semiconductor manufacturing and other nanotechnology industries. NIST has experience in the calibration and characterization of CD-AFM instruments and in the development of uncertainty budgets for typical measurands in semiconductor manufacturing metrology. A third generation CD-AFM was recently installed at NIST. The current performance of this instrument for pitch and height measurements appears to support our relative expanded uncertainty goals in the range of 1.0  10-3 down to 1.0  10-4.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 8036
Conference Dates
April 26-28, 2011
Conference Location
Orlando, FL
Conference Title
Scanning Microscopies 2011: Advanced Microscopy Technologies for Defense, Homeland Security, Forensic, Life, Environmental, and Industrial Sciences


CD-AFM, metrology, CD, linewidth, reference measurement system, standards, calibration, traceability


Dixson, R. , Orji, N. , McGray, C. and Geist, J. (2011), Traceable Calibration of a Critical Dimension Atomic Force Microscope, Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 8036, Orlando, FL (Accessed March 3, 2024)
Created June 6, 2011, Updated February 19, 2017