OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Vol. 18, Iss. 6 — Jun. 1, 2001
  • pp: 1279–1288

Polarized light scattering by microroughness and small defects in dielectric layers

Thomas A. Germer  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 18, Issue 6, pp. 1279-1288 (2001)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (226 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



The polarization of light scattered by the surface of a material contains information that can be used to identify the sources of that scatter. Theories for light scattering from interfacial roughness of a dielectric layer and from defects in that dielectric layer are reviewed. Methods for calculating the Mueller matrix or the Stokes vector for scatter from multiple sources and for decomposing a Stokes vector into contributions from two nondepolarizing scattering sources are derived. The theories are evaluated for a specific sample and geometry. Results show that some incident polarizations are more effective than others at discriminating among scattering sources, with s-polarized light being least effective. The polarization of light scattered from interfacial roughness depends upon the relative roughness of the two interfaces and the degree of correlation between the two interfaces. The scattering from defects in the film depends on the depth of the defect and differs from that from any one of the cases of interfacial roughness. The scattering from defects randomly distributed in the film and for small dielectric permittivity variations in the film is also calculated. Experimental results are presented for a 52-nm SiO2 film thermally grown on microrough silicon.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(240.5770) Optics at surfaces : Roughness
(260.2130) Physical optics : Ellipsometry and polarimetry
(290.5880) Scattering : Scattering, rough surfaces
(310.6860) Thin films : Thin films, optical properties

Original Manuscript: August 11, 2000
Revised Manuscript: November 28, 2000
Manuscript Accepted: December 1, 2000
Published: June 1, 2001

Thomas A. Germer, "Polarized light scattering by microroughness and small defects in dielectric layers," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 18, 1279-1288 (2001)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. T. A. Germer, C. C. Asmail, B. W. Scheer, “Polarization of out-of-plane scattering from microrough silicon,” Opt. Lett. 22, 1284–1286 (1997). [CrossRef]
  2. T. A. Germer, “Angular dependence and polarization of out-of-plane optical scattering from particulate contamination, subsurface defects, and surface microroughness,” Appl. Opt. 36, 8798–8805 (1997). [CrossRef]
  3. T. A. Germer, C. C. Asmail, “Polarization of light scattered by microrough surfaces and subsurface defects,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 16, 1326–1332 (1999). [CrossRef]
  4. L. Sung, G. W. Mulholland, T. A. Germer, “Polarized light-scattering measurements of dielectric spheres upon a silicon surface,” Opt. Lett. 24, 866–868 (1999). [CrossRef]
  5. E. Kröger, E. Kretschmann, “Scattering of light by slightly rough surfaces or thin films including plasma resonance emission,” Z. Phys. 237, 1–15 (1970). [CrossRef]
  6. J. C. Stover, Optical Scattering: Measurement and Analysis (SPIE Optical Engineering Press, Bellingham, Wash., 1995).
  7. T. A. Germer, C. C. Asmail, “Microroughness-blind optical scattering instrument,” U.S. patent6,034,776 (March7, 2000).
  8. T. A. Germer, “Measurement of roughness of two interfaces of a dielectric film by scattering ellipsometry,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 85, 349–352 (2000). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. F. E. Nicodemus, J. C. Richmond, J. J. Hsia, I. W. Ginsberg, T. Limperis, “Geometrical consderations and nomenclature for reflectance,” Natl. Bur. Stand. (U.S.) Monogr. 160 (National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, Md., 1977).
  10. C. F. Bohren, D. R. Huffman, Absorption and Scattering of Light by Small Particles (Wiley, New York, 1983).
  11. H. C. van de Hulst, Light Scattering by Small Particles (Dover, New York, 1981).
  12. D. S. Flynn, C. Alexander, “Polarized surface scattering expressed in terms of a bidirectional reflectance distribution function matrix,” Opt. Eng. 34, 1646–1650 (1995). [CrossRef]
  13. J. M. Elson, “Multilayer-coated optics: guided-wave coupling and scattering by means of interface random roughness,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 12, 729–742 (1995). [CrossRef]
  14. J. M. Elson, J. P. Rahn, J. M. Bennett, “Light scattering from multilayer optics: comparison of theory and experiment,” Appl. Opt. 19, 669–679 (1980). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. J. M. Elson, “Diffraction and diffuse scattering from dielectric multilayers,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 69, 48–54 (1979). [CrossRef]
  16. J. M. Elson, “Infrared light scattering from surfaces covered with multiple dielectric overlayers,” Appl. Opt. 16, 2872–2881 (1977). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  17. J. M. Elson, “Light scattering from surfaces with a single dielectric overlayer,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 66, 682–694 (1976). [CrossRef]
  18. T. A. Germer, C. C. Asmail, “Goniometric optical scatter instrument for out-of-plane ellipsometry measurements,” Rev. Sci. Instrum. 70, 3688–3695 (1999). [CrossRef]
  19. C. Deumié, H. Giovannini, C. Amra, “Ellipsometry of light scattering from multilayer coatings,” Appl. Opt. 35, 5600–5608 (1996). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  20. L. Sung, G. W. Mulholland, T. A. Germer, “Polarization of light scattered by spheres on a dielectric film,” in Rough Surface Scattering and Contamination, P.-T. Chen, Z.-H. Gu, A. A. Maradudin, eds., Proc. SPIE3784, 296–303 (1999). [CrossRef]
  21. D. Rönnow, “Interface roughness statistics of thin films from angle-resolved light scattering at three wavelengths,” Opt. Eng. 37, 696–704 (1998). [CrossRef]
  22. C. Amra, C. Grèzes-Besset, L. Bruel, “Comparison of surface and bulk scattering in optical multilayers,” Appl. Opt. 32, 5492–5503 (1993). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  23. C. Amra, “First-order vector theory of bulk scattering in optical multilayers,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 10, 365–374 (1993). [CrossRef]
  24. S. Kassam, A. Duparré, K. Hehl, P. Bussemer, J. Neubert, “Light scattering from the volume of optical thin films: theory and experiment,” Appl. Opt. 31, 1304–1313 (1992). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited