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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Editor: Stephen A. Burns
  • Vol. 23, Iss. 4 — Apr. 1, 2006
  • pp: 960–965

Phase shifts in frustrated total internal reflection and optical tunneling by an embedded low-index thin film

R. M.A. Azzam  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 23, Issue 4, pp. 960-965 (2006)

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Simple and explicit expressions for the phase shifts that p- and s-polarized light experience in frustrated total internal reflection (FTIR) and optical tunneling by an embedded low-index thin film are obtained. The differential phase shifts in reflection and transmission Δ r , Δ t are found to be identical, and the associated ellipsometric parameters ψ r , ψ t are governed by a simple relation, independent of film thickness. When the Fresnel interface reflection phase shifts for the p and s polarizations or their average are quarter-wave, the corresponding overall reflection phase shifts introduced by the embedded layer are also quarter-wave for all values of film thickness. In the limit of zero film thickness (i.e., for an ultrathin embedded layer), the reflection phase shifts are also quarter-wave independent of polarization (p or s) or angle of incidence (except at grazing incidence). Finally, variable-angle FTIR ellipsometry is shown to be a sensitive technique for measuring the thickness of thin uniform air gaps between transparent bulk media.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(240.0310) Optics at surfaces : Thin films
(240.7040) Optics at surfaces : Tunneling
(260.2130) Physical optics : Ellipsometry and polarimetry
(260.5430) Physical optics : Polarization
(260.6970) Physical optics : Total internal reflection
(310.6860) Thin films : Thin films, optical properties

ToC Category:
Optics at Surfaces

Original Manuscript: July 14, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: September 19, 2005

R. M. A. Azzam, "Phase shifts in frustrated total internal reflection and optical tunneling by an embedded low-index thin film," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 23, 960-965 (2006)

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