Probing Surface Morphology using X-ray Grating Interferometry

Wataru Yashiro, Susumu Ikeda, Yasuo Wada, Kentaro Totsu, Yoshio Suzuki, Akihisa Takeuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


X-ray reflectometry (XRR), a surface-sensitive technique widely used for characterizing surfaces, buried interfaces, thin films, and multilayers, enables determination of the electron density distribution perpendicular to a well-defined surface specularly reflecting X-rays. However, the electron density distribution parallel to the surface cannot be determined from an X-ray reflectivity curve. The electron density correlation in the lateral direction is usually probed by measuring the grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS). GISAXS measurement, however, typically requires using a collimated X-ray point beam to distinguish the GISAXS from the specularly reflected X-rays, and so the sample must be scanned in the lateral direction with the point beam to investigate variations in the surface and interface morphology for a region larger than the size of the beam. In this paper, we report a new approach based on X-ray grating interferometry: an X-ray sheet beam is used instead of an X-ray point beam. A method using this approach can simultaneously provide one-dimensional real-space images of X-ray reflectivity, surface curvature, and ‘dark-field’ contrast with a field-of-view of more than a few millimetres. As a demonstration, a sample having a 400 nm line and space SiO2 pattern with a depth of 10 nm on its surface was used, and the dark-field contrast due to the unresolved line and space structure, creating GISAXS in the lateral direction, was successfully observed. Quantitative analysis of these contrasts provided the real-space distribution of the structural parameters for a simple model of the grating structure. Our study paves the way to a new approach to structure analysis, providing a quantitative way to investigate real-space variations in surface and interface morphology through wavefront analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14120
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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