Abstract

A phase-sensitive scanning optical microscope is described that can measure surface height changes down to 0.1 nm. This is achieved by using two heterodyne Michelson interferometers in parallel. One interferometer probes the sample with a tightly focused beam, and the second has a collimated beam that illuminates a large area of the surface, providing a large area on sample reference. This is facilitated by using a specially constructed objective lens that permits the relative areas illuminated by the two probe beams to be varied both arbitrarily and independently, thus ensuring an accurate absolute phase measurement. We subtracted the phase outputs from each interferometer to provide the sample phase information, canceling the phase noise resulting from microphonics in the process. Results from a prototype version of the microscope are presented that demonstrate the advantages of the system over existing techniques.

© 1992 Optical Society of America

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