There is considerable interest in the microelectronics industry to obtain high-resolution images, as well as precise measures of defect densities in “ device quality” thin films and substrates. In the field of x-ray diffraction, research groups worldwide are intensely pursuing the relevant applications of computerized x-ray rocking curve analysis and topography. Production-type, on-site rocking curve instrumentation has already been introduced into the market, and potential uses of x-ray topography are also under consideration.
In the present study, the merits and limitations of these two techniques are critically evaluated. Possible pitfalls of automated data collection are pointed out and conditions under which meaningful measurements may be made are explored. It is shown that reliable results may nearly always be obtained with reasonable care when each method is applied subject to its own mode of operation. However, extreme caution is needed when digitized data initially collected for topography is subsequently used for rocking curve analysis; otherwise, the correspondence between the interpretation and actual defect configuration may be vitiated. Thus, additional tests will be necessary to ensure the validity of the results.