Abstract

Scattered total internal reflection of visible light is used to measure linear nanometric distance to as small as 10 nm. Specifically, we measure the height of magnetic transducer heads above a rotating glass disk. A breakthrough in the approach to calibration, based on combining the second derivative of the transmittance of the scattered light and parameter fitting, substantially improves the quality of the measurement relative to previous demonstrations of this method. The results agree to 1 nm with an industry-standard three-color interferometer to and including the lowest values measured. The technique in principle remains robust to as low as the zero height. Furthermore the calibration point can be as low as 10 nm, which is especially attractive in practice.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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