Logo of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt

Surface Metrology

Department 5.1

Tasks and aims

The Department Surface Metrology conducts industry-related research and development on tactile and optical surface texture measurement methods with the aim of being able to use optical measuring microscopes to use for roughness measurements in the future. In addition, new calibration standards based on silicon crystals and new measurement methods using micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) are being developed.

The department is responsible for the calibration

The department

  • participates in the development of standards and guidelines for surface metrology, both at the international level in ISO/TC 213 and IMEKO and in national committees of DIN, VDI and DKD
  • conducts and supports the development of standards and test specimens in the field of surface metrology, i.e. for tactile, optical and atomic force microscopy methods as well as for hardness and coating thickness metrology
  • is active in the field of research and development of new measuring instruments and measuring methods as well as algorithms for the analysis of data and the modelling of measuring methods.


Mono-atomic step-height standards

Processing procedure and measurement capabilities on mono-atomic steps on otherwise atomically smooth Si surfaces.

Opens external link in new windowScientific news




Opens internal link in current windowoptical roughness metrology

Development of guidelines for the configuration of optical surface measuring instruments for the measurement of roughness

Opens external link in new windowScientific news




Tactile Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)

Development of measurement methods for measuring the dynamic mechanical characteristics of surfaces.

Opens external link in new windowScientific news



Opens internal link in current windowSoftware developement for roughness parameter determination
Development of software for determination of the roughness parameters from surface measurements.


NanoScale 2023 will take place in Helsinki October 10th-12th, 2023

After a 4-year break due to the pandemic, we invite all those interested in (dimensional) nano- and micrometrology to NanoScale 2023 in Helsinki (Finland). The focus will be on Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM, especially AFM), optical surface measurement techniques (such as CLSM, CSI, FV, etc.) and electron microscopy techniques (SEM, TEM, TSEM). The conference - organized by PTB (Department 5.1) together with the colleagues of VTT-Mikes and EURAMET TC Length - will take place in the conference centre Technopolis Ruoholahti not far from Helsinki centre, located directly at the shore of the Baltic Sea. Further information on Opens external link in new windowwww.nanoscale.de



Development of a New Probetip Characterizer

In cooperation with Department 5.2 Dimensional Nanometrology a material measure of silicon with grooves of very sharp rectangular edges has been developed to measure the tip radius of tactile probes. Radius and shape of probe tips can either be determined by the tip's entrance depth into the grooves of varying width or by analysing the transfer characteristics of the edge transitions.

Show Working GroupsHide Working Groups

5.15 : Change of organisation

 Warnschild Former working group 5.15 now integrated into 5.14

The former working group 5.15 Calibration of roughness parameters has been integrated with all its activities and tasks into working group 5.14 headed by Dr. Sai Gao as of January 1, 2023. Contact persons remain Thorsten Dziomba for calibrations and for the PTB reference software (Opens external link in new windowhttps://www.ptb.de/rptb) Dr. Dorothee Huser.