A new approach to probing the depths of multilayer structures in SEM
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A new technique is proposed for determining the thickness of discrete layers in multilayered structures from images of the surface irradiated with a stationary focused electron beam. The interaction between backscattered electrons (BSEs) with residual hydrocarbons results in the formation of a ring-shaped carbonaceous layer surrounding the primary beam spot. The ring diameter varies with the composition and thickness of the layers traversed by the BSEs. Direct measurements are compared to predictions based on a BSE spatial distribution obtained via Monte Carlo simulation of the scattering. Capabilities of the method are demonstrated for Pt/C/Au and Pt/C/Au/Al systems. The sensitivity of the method is sufficiently high to distinguish an amorphous carbon layer no more than 20 nm thick deposited by arc evaporation and separating the bulk Pt from an island film of Au.
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