Waveguide refractometry as a probe of thin film optical uniformity

B. G. Potter, D. Dimos, M. B. Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Optical inhomogeneities through the thickness of a sol-gel-derived, spin-coated Pb(Zr,Ti)O3 (PZT) thin film have been evaluated using prism-coupled waveguide refractometry. Unusual waveguide coupling angle behavior has been treated using a multilayer model to describe the optical characteristics of the film. Waveguide refractometry measurements, performed after incremental reductions in film thickness, were used to develop a consistent model for optical inhomogeneity through the film thickness. Specifically, a thin film layer model, consisting of alternating layers of high and low refractive index material, was found to accurately predict irregularities in transverse-electric (TE) mode coupling angles exhibited by the film. This layer structure has a spatial periodicity that is consistent with the positions of the upper film surface at intermediate firings during film synthesis. The correlation emphasizes the impact of the multistep thin-film deposition approach on the optical characteristics of the resulting thin film.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-551
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Materials Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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