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The reciprocal space structures of Si backside rough surfaces were studied using an in-plane light scattering technique. A diode array detector was used to collect the angular distribution of the scattered intensity. The diffraction profiles are interpreted based on the theory of diffraction from a self-affine rough surface. Roughness parameters such as interface width, lateral correlation length, and the roughness exponent, are extracted from the profiles and are compared to that obtained by real space imaging techniques such as atomic force microscopy and stylus profilometry. Factors that limit the accuracy of light scattering measurements are discussed. © 1998 American Institute of Physics.