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Scope of the Seminar

Creating a bridge between industrial researchers and metrologists

The NanoScale seminar will stimulate the exchange between researchers, industrial users and metrologists on measuring techniques for the nano- and microworld such as scanning probe, advanced optical and electron microscopies as well as related techniques.


Metrology for nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing

The accurate determination of dimensional and other properties of micro- and nanostructures and other advanced materials is essential not only for research and development, but increasingly also a prerequisite in process control and quality assurance in a broad range of industries from semiconductor business and ultra-precision manufacturing to nanobiology and nanomedicine. Advanced manufacturing often demands novel refined measurement techniques to check and finally control new fabrication processes.


For better control on the nanoscale and more nano-safety

Changes of physical and chemical properties are often correlated with the size and form of structures. Moreover, size and morphology are decisive when it comes to potential risks for health, safety and environment (HSE). Consequently, technical regulations for protection can only be implemented reliably if appropriate measurement technologies are available, thoroughly tested and validated. Especially National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) face the challenge to ensure traceability to the SI units and to help to establish comparability across instruments and methods in question. International standardization aims to establish generally agreed harmonized procedures for measurement and characterization of novel materials. NanoScale provides a forum for discussion of solid metrology, which forms a prerequisite for safe and sustainable application of nanotechnology and other advanced manufacturing. Among others, high-speed SPM measurements of functional properties of nanostructures will be addressed in a Special Session of NanoScale 2023.


Better understanding of optical surface measurement techniques

While scanning probe and electron microscopies typically yield areal information at high spatial resolution, their application is often too complex in many industries, and rather easy-to-use techniques such as stylus are still common although they usually yield 2D information only, while 3D is often needed nowadays to assess the sample’s functional properties. This gap is increasingly filled by various optical areal surface measurement techniques such as interference microscopy, confocal scanning microscopy, focus variation and others, which are typically fast and can often be integrated as inline measurement tool in the manufacturing chain. The understanding of measurement properties of such instruments is making progress in recently years, based on systematic characterization as well as modelling and simulation. A second Special Session is dedicated to optical surface measurement techniques at NanoScale 2023.


Reliability of nano-measurements: uncertainty & standardization

The specification, characterization and calibration of instruments requires well elaborated, generally agreed and accepted uniform standardized procedures. Finally, measurements result in a quantitative number and unit describing a geometrical or physical property. This has to be combined with the measurement uncertainty, determined by using an appropriate measurement uncertainty budget, to achieve a traceable result and ensure comparability over long time and, whenever possible, across methods – a particularly challenging task in nanometrology.

Articifial intelligence (AI) is developping at an unprecedented pace and increasingly used e. g. for data processing, with amazing results. Its control and verification is a great challenge to the scientific community.


Topics to be addressed

Instrumentation and methods

Advances in instrumentation such as position-measuring systems, linearization methods, improved repeatable probe/sample positioning, high-speed, low force, novel/improved probe/detector systems, 3D probing concepts, probe-sample interaction, image processing, as well as modelling and simulation techniques. A few examples:

  • High-resolution optical microscopy (such as phase-shift, white-light, confocal, holographic and focus variation microscopy) and light scattering including simulation
  • Interferometry to measure the displacement of stages or to determine the shape of small features in the micro range
  • Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) including simulation
  • Further Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) techniques, e.g. STM, SKFM
  • High-resolution, low force tactile instruments for profile or areal measurement
  • Electron microscopies (SEM, TSEM, TEM, STEM)
  • Hybrid instruments combining different measurement techniques and exploiting different physical interactions for holistic sample characterization



Calibration & correction methods

The characterization and specification of instruments is a prerequisite for any accurate and traceable measurements.

  • Setup of instruments and their metrology specification
  • Development of documentary standards and material measures (transfer standards) for the characterization and calibration of instruments
  • Recipes for stitching of measured images and fusion of data obtained from different measurement heads/instruments, 3D reconstruction techniques, etc.
  • Use of AI e. g. for data analysis, strategies for the validation of AI concepts and verfication of results obtained with the help of AI
  • Evaluation of the measurement uncertainty for more complex measurement tasks
  • Review of accomplished comparisons, extraction of the needs for further comparisons




Quantitative measurements and measurement applications in fields like

  • Geometry of micro- or nano-objects (height, width, film thickness, line width, form, profile and areal surface roughness, etc.)
  • Relationships of surface topography parameters and functional behavior, correlation of dimensional and other physical properties
  • Complex parameters for friction and tribology
  • Measurement of complex structures, e. g.  in micro-systems/-electronics, nano/quantum/molecular electronics and other devices, incl. applications in biology and medicine
  • Measurements to assess health, safety and environment risks of nanomaterials and other advanced materials
  • Exchange on measurement needs among the various stakeholders, required uncertainties in different application fields, better understanding of future needs


Special Sessions at NanoScale 2023

  • High-speed SPM measurements of functional properties of nanostructures (based on EMPIR project 20IND08 MetExSPM and beyond)
  • 3D roughness & dimensional measurements by optical 3D microscopy and optical distance sensors (based on EMPIR project 20IND07 TracOptic and beyond)