In this paper we summarize a number of previous experiments on the measurement of the roughness of metallic surfaces by light scattering. We identify several regimes that permit measurement of different surface parameters and functions, and we establish approximate limits for each regime. Using a straightforward criterion, we calculate that the smooth-surface regime, in which the angular distribution of scattered light is closely related to the power spectral density of the roughness, ranges over 0 < σ/ λ ≲ 0.05, where σ is the rms roughness and λ is the opitcal wavelength. Above that the surface autocorrelation function may be calculated from a Fourier transform of the angular distribution over 0 < σ/λ ≲ 0.14. Then comes the specular regime where the specular beam can still be identified and measured over 0 < σ/λ ≲ 0.3. For all these regimes and for rougher surfaces too, the rms width of the scatter distribution is proportional to the rms slope of the surface.
© 1993 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: November 20, 1992
Published: July 1, 1993
Theodore V. Vorburger, Egon Marx, and Thomas R. Lettieri, "Regimes of surface roughness measurable with light scattering," Appl. Opt. 32, 3401-3408 (1993)