Discover how an X-ray diffractometer can automate thin film metrology processes – Q&A

If you would like cleaner, quicker, and more efficient wafer analysis with your X’Pert³ MRD XL X-ray diffractometer for thin film metrology, our recently launched MRD XL Automation tool might just the answer you are looking for. By communicating closely with the host computer with the widely used SECS/GEM protocols, this MRD XL can be automatically controlled, adapted, and efficiently managed throughout the research or production process – from initial wafer selection to results distribution – to meet all your needs.

To engage with our partners and provide insights into how to effectively automate your thin film metrology processes, we recently hosted a live webinar. If you missed it – no worries. You can find the recording here. We’d also like to share some of the most relevant questions we received, as well as our answers…

In the analysis automation can limits be set where any values outside a certain range are flagged with the area on wafer highlighted but do not stop the process?

There are several routes imaginable to achieve this. Firstly, in the host. Secondly, in an analysis script on the local PC. To provide a precise answer, we would need more case-specific information, but there are definitely opportunities for outputting the requested information.

Can I treat reciprocal space mappings in an automated fashion and process the results?

Yes, AMASS (our analysis package) enables complex peak finding and labeling processes and has extensive options regarding its automation via its language-agnostic interface.

Where do you keep measurement data?

By default, the data is stored on a local PC but storage on a file server is also possible. As scripting is part of the solution the opportunities to do this is virtually unlimited.

What’s the maximum and minimum scan areas? And what are the max number of spots on wafer that you can set for automation?

A 200mm wafer can be fully mapped. A 300mm wafer can be handled by automation, but only partially mapped. We have experience with 3-digit numbers of spots for measurements and see no reason for a limit that will be reached in practice.

Written by: Tom Gorter, Posted by: Malvern Panalytical (


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