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Side-by-side Comparison of Roughness Measuring Instruments

Surface Roughness Measuring Instruments

Measuring instruments of various workings are available on market for analysing and evaluating surface roughness and shape.

This section introduces the principles and characteristics of typical contact-type measuring instruments (surface roughness tester and atomic force microscope) and non-contact type measuring instruments (white light interferometer and laser scanning microscope).

Method Contact type Non-contact type
Measuring instrument Contact-type
roughness tester
Atomic force microscope
White light
Measurement resolution 1nm < 0.01 nm < 0.1 nm 0.1nm
Height measurement range up to 1 mm < 10 μm < a few mm < 7 mm
Measurable range a few mm 1 to 200 μm 40 μm to 15 mm 15 μm to 2.7 mm
Angular characteristic Poor Fair Good
Data resolution VGA VGA SXGA
Measurement site positioning Optional Built-in optical camera Built-in optical camera
Damage to samples Contact Contact Non-contact Non-contact

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