Multilayered films composed of alternating 200 Å Al and 267 Å Al203 layers are made by physical vapor deposition. Twenty-two pairs of these films are deposited on a polished Si wafer. Ion beam sputtering is used to form craters in the multilayered film. When a crater is viewed or photographed in situ by scanning electron microscopy, the Al2O3 layers appear bright and the Al layers appear dark. In the scanning electron microscope (SEM) the Al2O3 layers have a high secondary electron yield compared to Al. In secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS), using Cs+ as the ion beam, imaging with O- produces an image with Al2O3 layers appearing white and with Al layers appearing dark. Scanning Auger microscopy (SAM) imaging of oxygen produces the same result. In all cases, the alternating bright and dark layers along the wall of the sputter crater form a contour map. The width of each bright band represents a change of depth corresponding to the thickness of the Al2O3 layer and similarly for the dark Al bands. Therefore, the operator of a SEM, SAM or SIMS unit can determine the depth as well as the shape of a sputter crater in situ by using a multilayered film. The main requirement is that the films be smooth on a scale that is small compared to the thickness of each layer and that alternate films have high contrast in the imaging process.
Levenson, L. L.; Massopust, T. P.; Dick, J.; Jaehnig, M. C.; and Griffith, D.
"Sputter Crater Contour Mapping with Multilayered Films,"
Scanning Electron Microscopy: Vol. 1985
, Article 17.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/electron/vol1985/iss3/17