We have characterized the surface topography of silicon films from different deposition and doping process sequences using AFM and optical reflectivity. The resulting surface structures after deposition, doping, oxide growth, and oxide removal correlate with the electrical leakage currents and breakdown voltages of double polysilicon capacitors. As-deposited amorphous films had smoother surfaces than those deposited in the crystalline state. Gas-phase diffusion doping increases the surface roughness. Only the amorphous in situ doped films retained a smooth surface following oxidation, yielding low leakage capacitors with breakdown fields above 8 MV/cm. Surprisingly, implanted amorphous films exhibited the roughest interfaces, resulting in lower breakdown fields. This study has shown that AFM provides an effective, quick, non-destructive diagnostic technique for semiconductor processing.