Bruker Corp. (TUCSON, AZ) announced at the Materials Research Society (MRS) Fall 2010 Meeting the AcuityXR, a novel optical surface profiler mode that combines unique, patent-pending Bruker hardware and software technology to enable select ContourGT non-contact, 3D optical surface profilers to break the optical diffraction limit and deliver lateral resolutions that were previously considered impossible to achieve.

Many nanoscale applications in the semiconductor, medical and precision machining fields today have surface features and defects with dimensions that limit detection or identification due to the optical diffraction limit. Such miniscule features and defects often directly affect function, performance, quality and/or manufacturing yields and are of great interest to researchers and production quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) personnel alike. Bruker optical surface profiler systems equipped with the new AcuityXR mode have shown resolution of features below 130 nanometers in width, which is unprecedented in optical microscopy and is nearly three times finer than for systems without this technology. Furthermore, AcuityXR enables this new level of precision while preserving the wide field-of-view and high performance benefits of Bruker non-contact, 3-D optical surface profiling. With AcuityXR, dimensional repeatability on narrow structures has been shown to improve by more than a factor of 5x, showing a true metrology benefit to the technology in addition to its ability to reveal exceptionally fine features. AcuityXR is an optional capability that is now available on Bruker ContourGT-K1, X3 and X8 optical surface profilers.

"AcuityXR combines radically new measurement algorithms with the enhanced metrology hardware technology in the ContourGT-K1, X3 and X8 systems that together deliver lateral resolutions never before achieved in optical microscopy," said Mr. Ross Q. Smith, vice president and general manager of Bruker’s Stylus & Optical Metrology Unit. "This remarkable new capability, which is exclusively available on ContourGT systems, is a great benefit to both our current and prospective customers in semiconductor, medical and precision machining applications where feature sizes are shrinking while the need for quality is continuously increasing."

Dr. Mark R. Munch, president of the Bruker Nano Surfaces Business, added: "AcuityXR builds upon the industry-leading performance, repeatability and ease-of-use capabilities of the ContourGT product family. Bringing this unprecedented achievement to market truly illustrates Bruker’s on-going commitment to provide the highest value nanosurface metrology systems to our industrial and R&D customers."