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Standards and guidelines for surface metrology

Standards and Guidelines for Surface Metrology

In order to ensure a uniform and comparable procedure in surface metrology, a number of guidelines and standards are available in this field. Experts of the department are involved - partly in a leading position - in various committees drafting these normative documents that are developed further continuously to reflect the progress of measurement techniques and take into account the increasing number of their applications.
Standards and guidelines for profile roughness use to exist for several decades already. These documents were recently revised to reflect the technological progress and to account for needs of the users, and have been summarized in the new ISO 21920 consisting of three parts, first published in 2022.

Furthermore, for areal surface measurements (e. g. by optical methods), comprehensive sets of guidelines and standards are being developed in the past few years as well, accompanied by continued basic research in this field. On the international level, it is first of all the multi-part standards series ISO 25178, together with accompanying documents such as VDI/VDE guideline series VDI/VDE 2655 for optical surface measurement instruments and VDI/VDE 2656 für atomic force microscopes as well as ISO 11952, the standard for calibration of scanning probe microscopes.

For surface analytical techniques, various documentary standards have been developed over the past 20 years; normative documents for scanning probe microscopy, under development for about 10 years now, are complementing the sets of standards for surface metrology.

Nearly all VDI guidelines (VDI: Verein Deutscher Ingenieure / Association of German Engineers) and DIN-, CEN- or ISO-standards are copyright protected and available in Germany from Beuth Verlag publishing company against costs:
Not all ISO standards use to be translated into German or adapted into the German national set of standards. ISO standards can be retrieved on the ISO website, where they can usually be ordered directly from ISO as well:
The following DKD guidelines (DKD: Deutscher Kalibrierdienst) and the terminology standard ISO 18115 with its two parts ISO 18115-1 for surface analytical techniques and ISO 18115-2 for scanning probe techniques are freely accessible within the set limits described below.

ISO 21920 series on profile measurements

  • ISO 21920-1 Geometrical product specifications (GPS) — Surface texture: Profile — Part 1: Indication of surface texture
    This standard mainly deals with the drawing entries (indications) and replaces the former ISO 1302
  • ISO 21920-2 Geometrical product specifications (GPS) — Surface texture: Profile — Part 2: Terms, definitions and surface texture parameter
    This standard with the definitions of roughness parameters and instructions for their calculation replaces the former standards ISO 4287 and ISO 13565-2 and -3. Among others, this new ISO 21920 forms the basis for the determination of roughness parameters also on roughness standards.
  • ISO 21920-3 Geometrical product specifications (GPS) — Surface texture: Profile — Part 3: Specification operators
    This standard replaces the former ISO 4288.

This series of standards is in the responsibility of ISO/TC 213/WG 16.
Further information on the new ISO 21920 series, particularly in view of the calibration of roughness standards at PTB and the traceability of DAkkS labs accredited for roughness as well as differences old-new, is given Initiates file downloadhere (pdf).

ISO 25178 series on areal measurements

This extensive series of standards, developed by ISO/TC 213/WG 16, consists of many parts that are still partly still being developed or already revised again. In addition to general parts, which have been created irrespective of measurement methods, further parts are dedicated to individual measurement methods. More information on the current status can be found e.g. on Opens external link in new windowwww.iso.org under the search term ISO 25178.


Opens internal link in current windowGeneral DKD guidelines


German language:    

DKD-R 4-2 Kalibrierung von Geräten und Normalen für die Rauheitsmesstechnik

Initiates file downloadDKD-R 4-2 Blatt 1 "Kalibrieren von Normalen für die Rauheitsmesstechnik"

Initiates file downloadDKD-R 4-2 Blatt 2 "Kalibrierung des vertikalen Messsystems von Tastschnittgeräten"

Initiates file downloadDKD-R 4-2 Blatt 3 "Kalibrierung von Normalen mit periodischen Profilen in horizontaler Richtung mit Tastschnittgeräten"

Blatt 4 Kalibrierung des horizontalen Messsystems von Tastschnittgeräten


English language version : DKD-R 4-2 2009 en

Initiates file downloadDKD-R 4-2 sheet 1, "Calibration of standards for roughness measuring technique"

Initiates file downloadAnnex A "Uncertainty of measurement in the calibration of roughness standards"

Initiates file downloadAnnex B "Uncertainty of measurement of the total height of profile of a depth-setting standard"

Initiates file downloadAnnex C "Measurement uncertainty of the total height of profile of a depth-setting standard with the standard deviation of the groove depth as topography term"

Initiates file downloadAnnex D "Uncertainty of measurement of the total height of profile of a depth-setting standard with the range of the groove depth as topography term"

Initiates file downloadDKD-R 4-2 sheet 2, "Calibrartion of the vertical measuring system of stylus instruments"

Initiates file downloadDKD-R 4-2 sheet 3, "Calibration of standards with periodic profiles in horizontal direction by means of stylus instruments"

page 4 (in construction)

Guideline series VDI/VDE 2655 Optical measurement at microtopographies


Sheet 1.1 - Calibration of interference microscopes and depth measurement standards for roughness measurement

VDI: Opens external link in new windowhttps://www.vdi.de/richtlinien/details/vdivde-2655-blatt-11-optische-messtechnik-an-mikrotopographien-kalibrieren-von-interferenzmikroskopen-und-tiefeneinstellnormalen-fuer-die-rauheitsmessung

BEUTH: Opens external link in new windowhttp://www.beuth.de/de/technische-regel/vdi-vde-2655-blatt-1-1/105907758?websource=vdin

Sheet 1.2 - Calibration of confocal microscopes and depth setting standards for roughness measurement

VDI: Opens external link in new windowhttps://www.vdi.de/richtlinien/details/vdivde-2655-blatt-12-optische-messtechnik-an-mikrotopografien-kalibrieren-von-konfokalen-mikroskopen-und-tiefeneinstellnormalen-fuer-die-rauheitsmessung

Beuth: Opens external link in new windowhttp://www.beuth.de/de/technische-regel/vdi-vde-2655-blatt-1-2/129221372?websource=vdin


Sheet 1.3 - Calibration of interference microscopes for form measurement

VDI: Opens external link in new windowhttps://www.vdi.de/richtlinien/details/vdivde-2655-blatt-13-optische-messtechnik-an-mikrotopografien-kalibrieren-von-flaechenhaft-messenden-interferometern-und-interferenzmikroskopen-fuer-die-formmessung
Beuth: Opens external link in new windowhttps://www.beuth.de/en/technical-rule/vdi-vde-2655-blatt-1-3/315300348

Sheet 1.4 - Calibrating confocal microscopes for shape measurement

VDI: Opens external link in new windowhttps://www.vdi.de/richtlinien/details/vdivde-2655-blatt-14-optische-messtechnik-an-mikrotopografien-kalibrieren-von-konfokalen-mikroskopen-fuer-die-formmessung


Sheet 2.1 - Methods of roughness measurement

VDI: Opens external link in new windowhttps://www.vdi.de/richtlinien/details/vdivde-2655-blatt-21-optische-messtechnik-an-mikrotopografien-verfahren-der-rauheitsmessung

Description of the Main Filtration Methods of Standards of the Series ISO 16610

In roughness metrology internationally standardized procedures to detrend form, waviness and roughness are employed. A detailed description is presented in

Selected Filtration Methods of the Standard ISO 16610

Terminology for surface chemical analysis and scanning probe microscopy

About 900 terms for surface chemical analysis and scanning probe microscopy have been defined by the ISO committee ISO/TC 201 "Surface Chemical Analysis" in the latest edition of the standards series ISO 18115 dating from the year 2013.

Both parts of the standard ISO 18115 are accessible on the ISO server in English. It is recommended to search for terms and acronyms in the index document first and then to look up the corresponding definition in the standard by using the reference number.Please note the special conditions for use (copyright of ISO) below*.

Vocabulary in alphabetic order
Index ISO 18115-1 :2013(E) for techniques used in surface chemical analysis
Index ISO 18115-2 :2013(E) for techniques used in scanning probe microscopy 

Complete standards
ISO 18115-1 :2013(E) Surface chemical analysis - Vocabulary - Part 1: General terms and terms used in spectroscopy*
ISO 18115-2 :2013(E) Surface chemical analysis — Vocabulary — Part 2: Terms used in scanning-probe microscopy*


The German national mirror committee DIN NA 062-08-16 AA "Chemische Oberflächenanalyse und Rastersondenmikroskopie" is currently preparing a translation into German.

* Hint of the publisher:

©   ISO 2017All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, no part of this publication may be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address below or ISO's member body in the country of the requester. ISO Copyright OfficeCP 401 • CH-1214 GenevaPhone: + 41 22 749 01 11Fax: + 41 22 749 09 47Email: copyright@iso.orgWebsite: www.iso.org Permission has been granted by ISO for public access to ISO 18115-1 and ISO 18115-2 for educational and implementation purposes through eight approved websites at the National Physical Laboratory (UK), the American Vacuum Society (USA), the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (USA), the Surface Analysis Society of Japan (Japan), the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (Japan), the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung (Germany), the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (National Metrology Institute of Germany) and the Spanish Vacuum Society (Spain).

Standards for Scanning Probe Microscopy (selection)

  • ISO 11039 Surface chemical analysis — Scanning-probe microscopy — Measurement of drift rate
  • ISO 11775 Surface chemical analysis — Scanning-probe microscopy — Determination of cantilever normal spring constants
  • ISO 11952 Surface chemical analysis — Scanning-probe microscopy — Determination of geometric quantities using SPM: Calibration of measuring systems
  • ISO 13095 Surface Chemical Analysis — Atomic force microscopy — Procedure for in situ characterization of AFM probe shank profile used for nanostructure measurement
  • ISO 21222 Surface chemical analysis — Scanning probe microscopy — Procedure for the determination of elastic moduli for compliant materials using atomic force microscope and the two-point JKR method
  • ISO 23729 Surface chemical analysis — Atomic force microscopy — Guideline for restoration procedure for atomic force microscopy images dilated by finite probe size

Further standards for scanning probe microscopy on Opens external link in new windowwww.iso.org, e. g. on the site of ISO/TC 201/SC 9, the committee in charge of SPM standardization.