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Sensofar S-neox

The S-neox system from Sensofar is a 3D optical profiler combining confocal, interferometry, and focus variation techniques in the same sensor head without any moving parts. It is ideal for obtaining a fast, non-invasive assessment of the micro- and nanogeometry of technical surfaces in multiple configurations.

Picture and Location


This tool is located in the SNF cleanroom, room L108 (next to the Woollam) at AB5 on the Lab Map.



 Please see the Sensofar website for a more detailed description of the tool:


Process Capabilities

Cleanliness Standard

 All equipment groups.


Performance of the Tool

What the Tool CAN do

  • Measure the surface height of smooth to very rough, ideally reflecting surfaces.
  • Confocal, highest lateral resolution, magnification 10, 20, 50, and 150x
  • Interferometry, sub-nanometer vertical resolution, 20 and 50x
  • Focus Variation, shape of large rough surfaces


What the Tool CANNOT do

  • Measure the surface height of transparent surfaces.


Contact List and How to Become a User

Contact List

  • SNF Process Staff: Uli Thumser
  • SNF Maintenance: Gary Sosa
Sensofar Contacts:
  • Sensofar Applications Engineer: Andy Miles, (480)274-4874,
  • Sensofar Business Manager Niels Schwarz, (480)575-0781,
  • Sensofar Local Sales Representative Maury McKenna, (510)468-0065,


Training to Become a Tool User

Please contact SNF Process Staff for training.


Operating Procedures

Read the information online provided by Sensofar first:


Tool Overview

Four LED Light Sources

  • blue 460 nm
  • green 530 nm (default setting)
  • white 550 nm (for thin film metro-logy)
  • red 630 nm

Shorter wavelength for highest lateral resolution, longer wavelength for greater optical coherence, up to 20ym, Phase Shift Interferometry (PSI) for smooth surfaces.

6 Objectives

  1. Confocal or Focus Variation
  2. EPI-N (all four light sources optional):
      • 10 x  (WD 17.5mm), 60 um minimum, 
      • 20 x (WD 4.5 mm)
      • 50 x (WD 0.35 mm)
      • 150 x (WD 0.3mm)
  1. Interferometry
  2. PSI (for smooth surfaces): green, blue, or red
  3. EPSI or VSI (recommended for resist): white light only
  4. 10 x DI-N (WD 7.4mm)
  5. 50 x DI-N (WD 3.4mm)


Basic Operating Procedure

  1. Make reservation (Badger: nSil/Characterization/s-neox)
  2. Computer should be left on, if not, switch on and wait for windows7 to open up (not connected to internet, upgrade to windows 8 not recommended by Sensofar)
  3. Enable S-neox (Badger: nSil/Characterization/s-neox)
    that switches on the Sensofar box, blue light (button) should now be on, if not press the button on
  4. Screen: switch on
  5. On screen: open program SensoSCAN 5.3
        • login
        • password

    Don't damage objectives!

  6. Move objective head up manually, or using "Z" on joystick
  7. Place sample on center of stage (use a thin wipe to keep sample clean and to prevent scratching the stage)
  8. Start with 10x objective (smallest), by manually rotating the turret - never touch objectives!
  9. Find surface: focus and level, the wider the fringes the flatter, manual turn large knobs under stage.

Helpful hints to focus on smooth surfaces:

      • Select Bright field
      • Select Iris: focus on Iris (ring), until you’ll find fringes

Program Parameter Overview

If you open the program, it won’t load automatically the default program!

S-neox default screen

Recipe: Start with Default. If you have your own recipe, click on load and select your recipe.

S-neox select recipes

S-neox recipe default

  • Operation Mode: Default


  • Measurement: Surface: Topography

S-neox measurement surface topography

  • Objective: (select objective you are going to use)

S-neox objective

  • Area: 1360 x 1024 pixels, ok
  • Z-Scan: VSI (Zygo sample: 20um)
  • Speed Factor: 1x
  • Stage Control:
  • Average # Scans: 1

  stitching option

  • Auto Focus: disabled
  • Light Source: LED
  • Threshold:
  • External Analysis:
  • Measurement:
      • Focus (don't damage objectives!), if close to surface, Auto focus is option (upper left corner)
      • Click on 'Auto Light' button (upper left corner)
      • Acquire (lower right corner)
  • Restored: it will fill up black areas
  • How to level: Display should be contour, click on Term, select plane or three points
  • To get measurement data, step height:
      • Display: Profile
      • click on - , , - , +
      • Average: click, hold and drag line left or right
      • Isometric: 3D image
      • Filter: to suppress noise
      • click on System Ready
      • one cursor ... hold click again to get 2nd cursor
      • step height
  • New measurement: New Acquisition


Helpful Hints

  • To measure smooth, mirror like surfaces: use PSI
      • PSI is better for smaller steps than VSI
  • Confocal is slower but more precise than focal
  • Application Thin Film: only one transparent film on substrate
  • To measure surface roughness:
      • Select "surface roughness" recipe (don't change it!)
      • Interferometry only, start with 10 x DI-N (WD 7.4mm) objective
      • level manually as good as possible (wide fringes)
      • z scan PSI: scans 4
      • Threshold: 2
      • LED: green
      • Acquire
      •  Display
      •   Contour
      • Filter
      •  Other
      • FFT Filters
      • High Pass fc 1%
      • Apply
      • Zoom field:
      • Sa = Average surface roughness
      • (Si = 0.569 nm)


  • Display
  • Objective: how to calibrate
  • The light control window
  • How to level

Save Data

Libraries\documents\SNFUsers\(your own folder)

Data files (.mtu) use a lot of space so save them on your own USB rather than leaving them on the computer.

  • Save your own recipe: make sure your name is part of the file name!
  • Save as PDF file: Print, print, PDF creator, OK, …, Save, find your folder, File name, Save
  • Save 2D: export full data in “isometric” view”. File, export .dat file


  1. Save data
  2. Save recipe
  3. Load Default recipe
  4. Move objective head up, remove sample
  5. Rotate to 10 x EPI objective
  6. Close program
  7. Screen: switch off
  8. Computer: leave on
  9. Disable (blue button on Sneox box: light off)

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