A new method for studying surface roughness is presented that uses a microdensitometer to analyze electron micrographs of shadowed surface replicas. First we give a preliminary description of the replication technique and the microdensitometer analysis. Then we proceed to show that the micrograph density (or transmittance) is approximately proportional to the slope of the surface elements, which enables us to determine the surface profile by integration of the microdensitometer data. Bidimensional and monodimensional median-filtering algorithms are used in the data reduction, and their validity is analyzed. With the help of a computer program that plots a perspective view of rough surfaces, we find that a close approach to the real profiles is obtained. This shows that our method may have other important applications in addition to the study of alterable metallic surfaces.
© 1981 Optical Society of America
Monique Rasigni, Georges Rasigni, Jean-Pierre Palmari, and Antoine Llebaria, "Study of surface roughness using a microdensitometer analysis of electron micrographs of surface replicas: I. Surface profiles," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 71, 1124-1133 (1981)