The Tencor P2 is a stylus profilometer for measuring step heights on thin films. The sample is placed on a translatable stage which can hold up to 200 mm diameter wafers. During the measurement, a stylus is placed in contact with the device under test and the stage is translated in one direction. The deflection of the stylus is used to reconstruct the surface profile in one direction. As this is a contact measurement, the stylus can be contaminated by the surface or be affected by sufficiently soft materials. The profilometer also has an upper measurement threshold that is on the order of 60 microns while the lower measurement threshold can be between 20 nm and 500 nm depending on the surface roughness magnitude, but may even be as high as 100 nm.
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