National Physical Laboratory

Surface Topography and Nano-Metrology Measurements

In many situations surface texture properties are critical to the performance of components. The information provided by surface texture measurements can be used to control production, verify end products and develop new designs and product specifications that enhance functionality.

NPL provides a complete solution for all surface texture measurement requirements through a wide range of contact and noncontact instruments. This range of instruments includes high accuracy commercial instruments and several bespoke, NPL built systems, which provide the highest (sub-nanometre) accuracy and direct traceability to the metre for the most demanding measurement applications.

Two or three-dimensional (or 'areal') surface texture measurements can be performed on precision components, such as optical components (eg. lenses), machined parts (e.g. cylinders liners), industrial coatings (e.g. hard coatings on cutting tools), wafers for microelectronics and MEMS, etc. The techniques provide maps of the surface topography and traceable quantitative measurements of surface parameters and features. These measurements comply with measurement standards such as ISO 25178, BS 1134, ISO 4287 and ISO 5436.

NPL can support the traceability of in-house measurements by supplying or calibrating a wide range of surface texture standards, include step height samples, periodic samples and samples with random surface texture, for testing the overall performance of the instrument according to ISO 5436-1. These standard artefacts are used for verifying surface profile measuring instruments and providing measurement traceability.


A SoftGauges website has been developed which offers online access to reference data sets (Type F1 SoftGauges) and reference software (Type F2 software standards) for calibrating the software aspects of surface measuring systems and testing the numerical correctness of such software.

Click here to read more about SoftGauges




Customer Service tel: +44 20 8943 8631

Last Updated: 6 Oct 2016
Created: 2 Aug 2010


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