We demonstrated the direct visualization of molecularly thin lubricant films on magnetic disks with a thickness resolution of 0.1 nm by using an ellipsometric microscope with a white light source. It was able to reduce the optical interference noise that arises in conventional laser-based ellipsometric microscopes, and to provide a large SNR by a factor of about 6 compared to a laser-based ellipsometric microscope. The wavelength width should be given the first priority in designing a white light source ellipsometric microscope, and the width should be determined after considering the required coherence length and thickness resolution. Theoretical calculations indicate that a wavelength width of less than 10 nm can provide a thickness resolution of 0.1 nm. A white light source ellipsometric microscope can provide real-time visualization of a molecularly thin lubricant film with a thickness resolution of 0.1 mm, which is useful in investigating the kinetic behavior of molecularly thin lubricant films on magnetic disks.

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