Nomarski / Differential Interference Color (DIC)

Thin films or materials which are translucent or transparent are commonly applied to metallic or semi-conductor substrates.  These materials leave a reflective or semi-reflective surface underneath the image making them difficult to image.  These variations in thickness affect the ability to document thin films and manufactured materials with either optical or electron imaging.

Differential Interference Color (DIC) Imaging is an effective alternative imaging method, accentuating differences in thickness, density, or optical index in a sample.  This imaging is performed by analyzing interference colors produced by destructive interference from two similarly aligned beams in an optical microscope.  This enhances and highlights subtle features with brilliant color gradients, which are then captured with our high resolution digital cameras. 


  • Thin films can show process defects or impact damage that would be difficult to observe with traditional imaging.
  • Depth can be easily observed in patterned structures such as microlithography or thick film deposition samples.
  • Point faults or shifts in crystalline or highly ordered materials are easily highlighted by change in optical index.
  • Metallic or glass samples can show mechanical faults, scratches, or internal voids.
  • Surface contaminants illustrate depth, size, and adhesion using color to enhance fine features.

Application Fields: