Alpha-Step® D-500 Stylus Profiler

High resolution 2D profiling, with the highest vertical range of 1200μm, sub-Angstrom resolution and low force (0.03mg to 15mg) as standard. State of the art optical lever sensor technology ensures measurements are accurate and repeatable. The Alpha-Step D-500 includes a manual 140mm stage and advanced optics with enhanced video controls.



A global technology leader who make an impact by creating solutions that drive progress and transform industries. Collaboration is the key to their success. KLA provide leading-edge technology and devices using advanced inspection tools, metrology systems, and computational analytics. Their solutions accelerate tomorrow’s electronic devices. The enable evolution and innovation in the data era across key industries including automotive, mobile and data centre.

Key Features

  • Step Height Nanometers to 1200µm
  • Low Force Measurements at 0.03mg to 15mg
  • Video: 5MP high-resolution colour camera
  • Keystone Correction: Removes distortion due to side view optics
  • Arc Correction: Removes error due to arc motion of the stylus
  • Compact Size
  • User friendly software interface
  • Highest Vertical Range at 1200μm
  • 140mm Manual Stage
  • Optical Lever Sensor

Accurate & Repeatable Surface Measurement

The Alpha-Step® D-500 Stylus Profiler offers impressive accuracy and repeatability in surface measurement, in a compact footprint and at an attractive price. Capable of performing 2D measurement of step height, roughness, bow, and stress, the Alpha-Step® D-500 has comprehensive capabilities for fundamental surface measurements. KLA’s cutting-edge optical lever sensor technology allows for a high vertical range, and low force operation with enhanced stylus force control. Optical lever sensor technology also improves repeatability when compared to conventional force coil systems. Powerful software algorithms build upon the Alpha-Step’s hardware platform, and provide arc correction as standard, eliminating sidewall effect.

A large range of materials can be effectively measured with stylus profilometry, regardless of material properties such as transparency. The low force measurement made possible by KLA’s technology allows delicate surfaces to be measured accurately and easily.

Enhanced High-Resolution Optics

The Alpha-Step® D-500 makes operating a stylus profiler easier by including a high resolution colour camera system. The camera features 4X digital zoom and flexible lighting controls. KLA’s software uses keystone correction algorithms to further enhance the D-500’s vision system. Keystone correction automatically corrects perspective distortions usually caused by side view options, providing an orthogonal view of a samples surface.

Shown left: Video from side view optics
Shown right: Video with keystone correction

2D Surface Measurement

A comprehensive range of 2D surface measurements are supported by the Alpha-Step® D-500. Featuring a 30mm scan length, measurement types include step height from nanometres to 1200μm, texture including roughness and waviness, and form including bow and shape. Scan stitching is possible up to 80mm in length. 2D stress measurement is also available as an additional option.

The Alpha-Step D-500 is ideally suited for semiconductor and compound semiconductor applications, such as thin film deposition and etching processes. Low force measurement is supported, enabling the measurement of soft or delicate materials, such as photoresists.


  • Universities, research labs and institutes
  • Semiconductor and compound semiconductor
  • LED: Light emitting diodes
  • Solar
  • MEMS: Micro-electro-mechanical systems
  • Automotive
  • Medical devices

And more: Contact us with your requirements


Step Height: 2D step height

The Alpha-Step D-500 stylus profiler is capable of measuring 2D step heights from nanometres to 1200µm. This step height measurement enables quantification of material deposited or removed during etch, sputter, SIMS, deposition, spin coatings, CMP and other processes. The Alpha-Step series has low force capability that enables measurement of soft materials, such as photoresist.

Texture: 2D roughness and waviness

The Alpha-Step D-500 measures 2D texture, quantifying the sample’s roughness and waviness. Software filters separate the measurement into the roughness and waviness components and calculate parameters such as root mean square (RMS) roughness.

Form: 2D bow and shape

The Alpha-Step D-500 can measure the 2D shape or bow of a surface. This includes the measurement of wafer bow that can result from mismatch between layers during the device fabrication, such as the deposition of multiple layers for the production of semiconductor or compound semiconductor devices. The D-500 can also quantify the height and radius of curvature of structures, such as a lens.

Stress: 2D thin film stress

The Alpha-Step D-500 is capable of measuring stress induced during the manufacture of devices with multiple process layers, such as semiconductor or compound semiconductor devices. The bow of the sample is accurately measured using a stress chuck to support the sample in a neutral position. The change in shape from a process such as film deposition is then used to calculate the stress by applying Stoney’s equation.



Alpha-Step® D-500 Stylus Profiler Brochure 2023

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Benchtop Stylus Profilers Brochure

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Technical Specifications

Alpha-Step® D-500 Stylus Profiler Specification Sheet

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Stylus Options

The Alpha-Step D-500 has a variety of styli available to support the measurement of step heights, high aspect ratio steps, roughness, sample bow, and stress. The tip radius ranges from 100nm to 50µm and determines the lateral resolution of the measurement. The included angle ranges from 20 to 100 degrees, specifies the maximum aspect ratio of the measured feature. All styli are manufactured from diamond to reduce wear and increase stylus lifetime.

Sample Chucks

The Alpha-Step D-500 has a range of chucks available to support application requirements. The standard chuck is nickel plated aluminium chuck for samples up to 140mm. A flat black chuck is available for transparent samples to minimize reflection from the chuck surface. A universal vacuum chuck is also offered and includes precision locating pins for samples from 50mm to 125mm. Both the standard and universal chucks support stress measurements with 3-point locators to hold the sample in a neutral position for accurate bow measurements.

Isolation Tables

The Alpha-Step D-500 has both tabletop and free-standing isolation table options. The Granite Isolator™ Series offers tabletop isolation systems that combine granite with high grade silicone gel to provide passive isolation. The Onyz Series tabletop isolation systems use pneumatic air isolators to provide passive isolation. The TMC 63-500 Series isolation table is a free-standing steel frame table that uses pneumatic air isolators to provide passive isolation.

Step Height Standards

The Alpha-Step D-500 uses thin and thick film NIST traceable step height standards offered by VLSI Standards. The standards feature an oxide step on a silicon die mounted on a quartz block. A step height range of 8nm to 250µm is available.

Apex Analysis Software

Apex analysis software enhances the standard data analysis capability of the D-500 with an extended suite of leveling, filtering, step height, roughness, and surface topography analysis techniques. Apex supports ISO roughness calculation methods, plus local standards such as ASME. Apex can also serve as a report writing platform with the capability to add text, annotations, and pass/fail criteria. Apex is offered in eight languages.

Offline Analysis Software

The Alpha-Step D-500 offline software has the same data analysis capability that exists on the tool. This enables the user to analyse data without using valuable tool time.

Service Support

Comprehensive repairs and servicing

Annual Support Programs

Your metrology instrumentation is a major investment that is critical to your business operation and success. In today’s competitive climate, it is more important than ever to extend the functionality and peak performance of your metrology equipment years beyond the expiration of your factory warranty. CN Tech’s Support Programs will help ensure that your investment is protected, and that you and your instrument’s are always operating at peak performance.

With over 20 years’ experience servicing and repairing you can be assured that your system is in safe hands. The independent services we offer include system relocation, maintenance visits, parts and consumables, and break down interventions.

CN Tech’s Support Programs are an economical way to guarantee optimal working condition:

  • Annual Preventive Maintenance
  • Priority Technical Assistance
  • Preferred Parts Availability
  • On-Site User Training
  • Remote Diagnostics
  • No surprise repair expense and much more!

Support Contact Example

An example of our service and support contracts are shown below:


Metrology & Instrumentation Annual Support Programs 2022/23

CN Tech's Support Programs will help ensure that your investment is protected, and that you and your instrument’s are always operating at peak performance.

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