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Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 54, Iss. 12 — Dec. 1, 1964
  • pp: 1428–1433

Effect of a Thin Surface Film on the Ellipsometric Determination of Optical Constants

D. K. BURGE and H. E. BENNETT  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 54, Issue 12, pp. 1428-1433 (1964)

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The thin oxide film present on most metals and semiconductors is difficult to detect and, if uncorrected for, can cause serious errors in the ellipsometric determination of optical constants. The reflectance at normal incidence calculated from these incorrect optical constants will, in general, be higher than that measured experimentally for a film-covered sample. A comparison of the approximate, linear, thin-film relations of Drude and Archer with the exact equations shows that the Drude relations are more inaccurate than are usually reported; in some cases serious errors result for films as thin as 10 Å. Archer’s relations are more accurate than Drude’s in most cases. However, if either of these sets of relations is used to correct measured ellipsometric values to the no-film condition, considerable errors in determining the optical constants may occur even if the film thickness is known. The variation in the ellipsometric parameters ψ and Δ with angle of incidence cannot be used to determine the presence of a thin surface film, since calculations show that the variation of these parameters with angle of incidence for a film-covered surface is practically identical with that for a fictitious film-free surface with appropriate optical constants. Also, the requirement that Rs2= Rp at 45° angle of incidence is only marginally useful in detecting a surface film.

D. K. BURGE and H. E. BENNETT, "Effect of a Thin Surface Film on the Ellipsometric Determination of Optical Constants," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 54, 1428-1433 (1964)

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  1. P. H. Berning, G. Hass, and R. P. Madden, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 50, 586 (1960).
  2. O. S. Heavens, Optical Properties of Thin Solid Films (Butterworths Scientific Publications Ltd., London, 1955), p. 125.
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  10. The formulas as given in A.Vasicek, Optics of Thin Filmns (North-Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1960), p. 315, are incorrect. The correct expressions are given by L. Tronstad (Ref. 11) with the additional correction that both expressions should be multiplied by n0 as noted by A. B. Winterbottom (Ref. 12). Unfortunately, typographical errors are also present in Winterbottom's published equations. The equations here have been slightly rearranged for greater clarity.
  11. L. Tronstad, Trans. Faraday Soc. 31, 1151 (1935).
  12. See Ref. 4, p. 40.
  13. R. J. Archer (private communication); the equations have been slightly rearranged for greater clarity.
  14. J. R. Partington, An Advanced Treatise on Physical Chemistry (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1953), Vol. IV, p. 506. The notation used by Partington differs from that used in this paper.
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  20. R. J. Archer, Phys. Rev. 110, 354 (1958).
  21. M. A. Barrett, Norges Tekniske Hogskole, Trondheim, Norway (private communication).

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