Methods of Contact and Non-Contact Characterization of Surface Topography


Mikhail I. Petrzhik

Yuri S. Pogozhev

Brief content

Surface topography is the one of the most important characteristics of the surface quality, which gives a strong influence on service properties of different items like instruments and machine parts. For example, the surface irregularities give influence on the nature of chemical and biological interaction, corrosion behavior, tribological characteristics like friction coefficient and etc. Knowing of the roughness parameters of the surfaces gives us a possibility to predict how they will interact between themselves and with another environments, like liquids and gases. The object of measuring and visualization of surface topography is extremely urgent in different scientific and industrial areas at present time. So there is one very important question: how to characterize the surfaces topography and roughness? Modern science has a lot of different methods for realization of measurement of surface roughness parameters and visualization of surface topography, which divided on two large groups — contact and non-contact methods. The lecture is focused on the contact and non-contact methods of surface topography characterization, and includes short introduction, description of different surface roughness parameters, main measurement methods, detailed description of optical profilometry as non-contact method of surface characterization and principles used in this method, advantages and disadvantages of optical profilometry in comparison with other methods. Also lecture contents description of Optical profiling system “Veeco “WYKO NT1100” and some examples of different application of this system for measuring of various types of materials and coatings and nanofilms.

Course content


  • Roughness of surface: parameters and methods to measure it (2 h)
  • Optical profilometry as non-contact method to investigate the roughness of surface (2 h)
  • Hertz’s model for mechanical contact of solids. Method of Stylus (contact) profilometry. (2 h)
  • Scanning probe microscopy: idea of the method, design of equipment, demands to the objects of study. (2 h)


Main textbooks:

  1. Stout K.J. Development of methods for the characterization of roughness in three dimensions. Penton Press. London. 2000.
  2. Whitehouse D. Surfaces and their measurement. Elsevier, 2004.