By Peter de Groot, Zygo Corporation
Understanding performance specifications is the first step in the process of selecting an instrument or technology for areal surface topography measurements. One of the more frequently cited parameters is known as “vertical resolution,” which is defined as the smallest surface height variation that can be detected. As a result of a review of instrument brochures, technical articles, and international standards, it was found that there is not a consensus regarding the meaning of "vertical resolution" and its numerical specification, which leads to a lot of confusion in the industry. It is important to re-evaluate the use of the term “vertical resolution” and identify a better way to characterize other instrument performance specifications. Download the full article for the real definition of vertical resolution, possible interpretations, and other important information regarding the use of the term.