Abstract

The scanning force microscope (SFM) is used to study the characteristics of optical surfaces, such as polished and precision-machined surfaces and thin-film structures. Previously unreported images of raised surface scratches and clumpiness on the surface of extremely smooth dielectric films are presented. The characteristics of SFM’s that are important in studying optical surfaces are discussed. They include the effects of tip geometry, surface charging, particulate contamination, scanner artifacts, and instrument calibration.

© 1995 Optical Society of America

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