Stylus-profiling techniques cannot be used for surface characterization of polymeric surfaces, such as magnetic tapes, because of their relatively low hardness. An interferometric-optical-profiling microscope system was used to obtain high-accuracy surface profiles of magnetic media, rapidly and without physical contact with the sample. The profilometer consists of a conventional, reflection-type optical microscope with a Mirau two-beam interferometer attachment. The interference patterns of the surface can be observed through the eyepieces and can be detected with a solid-state linear array of 1024 detector elements. By translating the reference surface of the interferometer with a piezoelectric transducer while taking consecutive measurements, accurate surface-height measurements can be obtained from each detector element. The microscope system is controlled by a microcomputer, which communicates with a desk-top computer for further analysis of the surface-profile data. A computer-controlled specimen stage is added to increase the sample size. The reasons for selecting the Mirau two-beam interferometry are also discussed. Sample data of magnetic tapes are presented. Experimental data presented in the paper show that optimization of surface roughness is necessary to obtain optimum magnetic amplitude, friction, and wear properties.
© 1985 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: November 23, 1984
Published: May 15, 1985
Bharat Bhushan, James C. Wyant, and Chris L. Koliopoulos, "Measurement of surface topography of magnetic tapes by Mirau interferometry," Appl. Opt. 24, 1489-1497 (1985)