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Quantitative characterization of surface topography using spectral analysis

Jacobs, Tevis D. B. and Junge, Till and Pastewka, Lars (2017) Quantitative characterization of surface topography using spectral analysis. Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties, 5 (1). 013001. ISSN 2051-672X

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Roughness determines many functional properties of surfaces, such as adhesion, friction, and (thermal and electrical) contact conductance. Recent analytical models and simulations enable quantitative prediction of these properties from knowledge of the power spectral density (PSD) of the surface topography. The utility of the PSD is that it contains statistical information that is unbiased by the particular scan size and pixel resolution chosen by the researcher. In this article, we first review the mathematical definition of the PSD, including the one- and two-dimensional cases, and common variations of each. We then discuss strategies for reconstructing an accurate PSD of a surface using topography measurements at different size scales. Finally, we discuss detecting and mitigating artifacts at the smallest scales, and computing upper/lower bounds on functional properties obtained from models. We accompany our discussion with virtual measurements on computer-generated surfaces. This discussion summarizes how to analyze topography measurements to reconstruct a reliable PSD. Analytical models demonstrate the potential for tuning functional properties by rationally tailoring surface topography – however, this potential can only be achieved through the accurate, quantitative reconstruction of the power spectral density of real-world surfaces.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Jacobs, Tevis D. B.tjacobs@pitt.edutjacobs0000-0001-8576-914X
Junge, Till
Date: 27 January 2017
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties
Volume: 5
Number: 1
Publisher: IOP
Page Range: 013001
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1088/2051-672x/aa51f8
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Surface topography; Power spectral density (PSD); Contact Mechanics; Scanning probe techniques
ISSN: 2051-672X
Official URL:
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2019 12:46
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2019 12:46

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