Philosophical Society of Washington

Measuring Surface Roughness

From the Atomic Level to Highway Bumps

Theodore Vorburger
National Institute of Standards and Technology

2151st Meeting Abstract
Friday, October 25, 2002 at 8:15 PM


Surface finish is important to the function of a range of industrial components including optics, semiconductors, mechanical parts, ship hulls and propellers, and interstate highways. This talk will discuss the wide range of techniques that have been used to characterize surface finish. Among those we will emphasize the techniques of stylus profiling, optical profiling, scanned probe microscopy, and light scattering. We will also highlight experiences on measurements of single atom steps 0.3 nm high and on measurements of the highways of Kentucky.

About the Author:

Ted Vorburger is responsible for surface roughness and step height calibrations at NIST, which underpin the national measurement system for surface finish. He has been working in Surface Metrology since 1976. Before that he performed research in Surface Science, Chemical Physics, and Atomic Physics. He has led or been closely involved in the development of a calibrated atomic force microscope for calibrations of surface nano-scale specimens, in the development of a light scattering system for measuring surface roughness, and in the development of the world's first sinusoidal-roughness Standard Reference Materials. He is the author or co-author of approximately 120 publications in the fields of surface metrology, surface physics, atomic physics, chemical physics, and automated measurements. He holds a B.S. degree from Manhattan College and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Yale University all in Physics.

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