A simple method for measuring the thickness of metal films based on eddy-current sensors (ECSs) immune to distance variation is proposed. The slope of the lift-off curve (LOC) in the RL impedance plane is a good feature for characterizing target thickness independent of lift-off distance variation. A simple equivalent model was built to deal with the ECS problem, and the essential relationship between the slope of LOC (SLOC) and target properties was obtained. Full finite element analysis was conducted to analyze the relationship between SLOC feature and target thickness, and the results matched the modeling results very well. A sensor coil probe was then manufactured and used to measure the thickness of copper films with high performance, and the capability of this technique for online noncontact thickness measurement was verified. The basic characteristics and performances of this thickness measurement technique were tested and discussed. The SLOC feature for thickness measurement had significant advantages, such as simplicity, reliability, immunity to the lift-off effect (most important), high speed, simple signal processing, and negligible design limitation of the sensor probe. The results of this paper revealed that online thickness measurement systems could be developed for various advanced industrial applications.
Hongbo Wang, Wei Li, Zhihua Feng
IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement