In-plane diffraction

For thin-film characterization

An X-ray diffraction technique in which both the incident and diffracted beams are nearly parallel to the sample surface, in-plane diffraction is an important method for thin film characterization. With standard diffraction geometries, such as the Bragg-Brentano geometry, lattice planes are measured that are parallel to the sample surface. X-rays penetrate to a certain depth into the sample, where they are diffracted; however, if the sample layer is too thin, X-rays are completely transmitted by the sample and no diffraction is observed. In these circumstances, in-plane diffraction is used. In-plane diffraction has two major features:

  1. The penetration depth of the beam is limited to within about 100 nm of the surface.
  2. The technique measures lattice planes that are (nearly) perpendicular to the sample surface, which are inaccessible by other techniques.


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