SiC Calibration

6H-SiC(0001) based calibration sample is designed to perform easy calibrations of AFM scanner vertical movement in several nanometers interval. The simplicity of calibration process is provided by nearly uniform distribution of either half-monolayer high (0.75 nm) or monolayer high (1.5 nm) stepson the sample surface demonstrating chemical and mechanical stability. The step height corresponds to half of the lattice constant of 6H-SiC crystal in 0001 direction.


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SIC/0.75 SIC/1.5
Chip Size 5 x 5 x 0.3mm² 5 x 5 x 0.3mm²
Average interstep distance 0.15 – 0.4 µm 0.2 – 0.5 µm
Misorientation of surface ~ 0.2° ~ 0.3°
Single step height 0.75 nm 1.5 nm
Average roughness of area between steps (terraces) 0.09 nm 0.09 nm

AFM image 1.6 x 1.6 µm

Height spectra

Calibration of AFM scanner movements along the Z axis in 3 steps
  1. Place the SiC/1.5 calibration sample on the flat horizontal working area under the AFM probe.
    Approach the AFM probe to the sample surface and make topography scanning in the height measure mode using scan size of approximately 10 µm (SiC/1.5) or 5 µm (SiC/0.75). Make sure there are no impurities on the image and choose and area of about 1.5 x 1.5 µm² for further measurements.
  2. After obtaining a good quality AFM image of the sample surface with several steps, use the software filter to flatten the image so every single step becomes horizontal.
  3. Choose the area on the AFM image for obtaining height spectra by using possibilities of AFM software. Choose the area with maximum number of steps for better statistics. After obtaining height spectra with peaks corresponding to each step, measure the interpeak distances. Distances between neighboring peaks may vary so it is useful to average distances between peaks by measuring distance between far standing peaks and dividing the measured value by the number of included interpeak distances. Change the scanner calibrating constant while average interpeak distance becomes 1.5 nm (SiC/1.5) or 0.75 nm (SiC/0.75).

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