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December 19, 2014

Measuring thin film thickness can present many challenges in the manufacturing and quality control environments. Because thin film can range in thickness from fractions of a nanometer to several micrometers, precision thin film thickness gauges should be used at every step of the production process from initial set up to end-product quality control.

Thin Film Applications and Materials

Thin Film ThicknessThin film has a variety of applications. The most familiar is the household mirror, which typically has a thin film coating on the back of a sheet of glass to create the reflective properties of a mirror. Thin film is also used on optical coating, two-way mirrors, computer memory chips, batteries, dye-sensitized solar cells and pharmaceuticals.

Depending on its use, thin film can be made out of a variety of materials. The process and tool for measuring thin film thickness vary per material type.

The act of applying thin film to a surface is called deposition. During the deposition process the thin film thickness of each layer is controlled within a few tenths of a nanometer. Deposition can be chemical deposition; meaning a liquid is used to apply the thin film and undergoes a chemical change, leaving a solid layer. Deposition can also be physical; when mechanical or thermodynamic means are used to produce a thin film of solid.

Measurement Techniques

Thin film can be single layer or multi-layer. Measurement techniques for thin film thickness are typically optical, using a spectrometer and a reflectance probe with light source. Thickness is gauged by detecting the fringe pattern in the film’s reflectance. Several measurement models are taken from the thin film for comprehensive analysis.

Like any film measurement process, gauging thin film measurement should always be a non-contact process as not to disrupt to damage the finished or in-process product.

SolveTech Solutions for Thin Film Thickness Gauging

Investing in a thin film gauging system can add value to your manufacturing process. When used at production set up, film gauging can ensure that you do not waste materials. When gauging is performed mid-process, it can be a useful calibration tool. And when film thickness is measured in your quality control lab, film thickness gauging is a critical tool in customer service and satisfaction.

SolveTech, the leading developers of film gauging systems offer customized tools for the measurement of thin film. Call us today to learn more about all our high-precision tools for gauging!

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