Analyzing large surfaces using AFM stitching

This application note describes the automated stitching feature of the Nanosurf Nanite AFM scripting interface in combination with the Nanosurf Report Expert analysis software. AFM measurements on an LCD panel are used as an example to demonstrate how stitching can thus be used to easily and efficiently generate highresolution topography maps of large surface areas.

High resolution imaging techniques like AFM are often limited in their maximum scan range. When both the high lateral resolution of an AFM and a large scan range are required, image stitching could be a solution. Image stitching is commonly used when creating a single panoramic scene from multiple pictures. In a more advanced implementation, this technique can also be used to combine multiple AFM measurements to a single large image. Thus, AFM imaging of large surface areas, e.g. 1 mm × 1 mm or 100 µm × 1 cm in size, can easily be achieved.

The Nanosurf Nanite AFM system is able to measure and stitch the required images fully automatically. The user only has to specify the single AFM image size and the size of the area to be measured. The AFM then takes care of the rest. After measurement, the images are loaded into the Nanosurf Report Expert postprocessing software, and are stitched together to a single image. This image still contains all metrological data and can therefore be analyzed like any other AFM image with all available analysis functions, including height and distance measurements, roughness calculation, grain and particle analysis, cross section analysis, and of course 3D visualization.

AFM image with scan range 700µm x 700µm; Z range 2µm
View application note (PDF) to find out more.