A profilometer is a tool that is able to determine a surface’s roughness by accurately measuring a surface’s profile. A profilometer is a very like a phonograph, which can measure surface as a surface is moved into contact with the profilometer's stylus. However, this process is changing with the emergence of numerous non-contact profilometry techniques. Non-contact profilometry techniques include laser triangulation (via a triangulation sensor), confocal microscopy (which is used for profiling of very small objects), as well as low-coherence interferometry and digital holography. Profilometers, both contact and non-contact, are a popular tool used in industries of trade, engineering, science, technology, and quantitative research.

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