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Terahertz Multilayer Thickness Measurements: Comparison of Optoelectronic Time and Frequency Domain Systems

Liebermeister, Lars; Nellen, Simon; Kohlhaas, Robert B.; Lauck, Sebastian; Deumer, Milan; Breuer, Steffen; Schell, Martin; Globisch, Björn

We compare a state-of-the-art terahertz (THz) time domain spectroscopy (TDS) system and a novel optoelectronic frequency domain spectroscopy (FDS) system with respect to their performance in layer thickness measurements. We use equal sample sets, THz optics, and data evaluation methods for both spectrometers. On single-layer and multi-layer dielectric samples, we found a standard deviation of thickness measurements below 0.2 µm for TDS and below 0.5 µm for FDS. This factor of approx. two between the accuracy of both systems reproduces well for all samples. Although the TDS system achieves higher accuracy, FDS systems can be a competitive alternative for two reasons. First, the architecture of an FDS system is essentially simpler, and thus the price can be much lower compared to TDS. Second, an accuracy below 1 µm is sufficient for many real-world applications. Thus, this work may be a starting point for a comprehensive cross comparison of different terahertz systems developed for specific industrial applications.
Published in: Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, 10.1007/s10762-021-00831-5, Springer Nature