CUED Publications database

On-line topographic analysis in the SEM

Holburn, DM and Smith, KCA (1979) On-line topographic analysis in the SEM. Scanning Electron Microscopy, VOL. 2. pp. 47-52. ISSN 0586-5581

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A novel method for on-line topographic analysis of rough surfaces in the SEM has been investigated. It utilises a digital minicomputer configured to act as a programmable scan generator and automatic focusing unit. The computer is coupled to the microscope through digital-to-analogue converters which enable it to generate ramp waveforms allowing the beam to be scanned over a small sub-region of the field under program control. A further digital-to-analogue converter regulates the current supply to the objective lens of the microscope. The video signal is sampled by means of an analogue-to-digital converter and the resultant binary code stored in the computer's memory as an array of numbers describing relative image intensity. Computations based on the intensity gradient of the image allow the objective lens current to be found for the in-focus condition, which may be related to the working distance through a previous calibration experiment. The sensitivity of the method for detecting small height changes is theoretically of the order of 1 μm. In practice the operator specifies features of interest by means of a mobile spot cursor injected into the SEM display screen, or he may scan the specimen at sub-regions corresponding to pre-determined points on a regular grid defined by him. The operation then proceeds under program control.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Div B > Solid State Electronics and Nanoscale Science
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:53
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2017 01:23