Unlike the mechanical stylus profilometer, the laser profilometer does not damage the surface of soft materials. However, the accuracy of autofocusing of the laser profilometer is not always sensitive enough to discriminate the material/air interface from subsurface structures of semitransparent polymers. In the present study over ten polymeric surfaces were gold coated in order to investigate the effect of gold coating on the readings of a laser profilometer. Surface profiles of some polymeric materials became much smoother even if a very thing gold coating was applied to increase the reflection from the surface. It was concluded that a thin gold coating must be applied for polymeric materials before their surfaces are to be tested by laser profilometry.
Kulik, Eduard A. and Calahan, Patrick
"Laser Profilometry of Polymeric Materials,"
Cells and Materials: Vol. 7
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cellsandmaterials/vol7/iss2/3