A noncontact three-dimensional optical profiler for measuring surface roughness is described. The system consists of a reflection microscope, Mirau interferometer with a reference surface mounted on a piezoelectric transducer, CID detector array, frame grabber, and micro-computer. Interferometric phase-shifting techniques are used to obtain surface height information. The height measurements are processed by a computer to obtain topographical statistical parameters, which are useful in predicting tribological and magnetic performances of the head-media interface in magnetic storage systems. Sample data are presented for magnetic media (tape, floppy disk, and rigid disk), a magnetic head, a silicon wafer, and a glass slide.

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