Nano-coated long-period gratings for detection of sub-nanometric changes in thin-film thickness

Mateusz Jakub Śmietana , Predrag Mikulic , Wojtek J. Bock


This work presents an application of a long-period grating (LPG) for high-precision detection of changes in the thickness of thin films deposited on its surface. LPGs highly sensitive to the external refractive index and reference silicon (Si) wafers were nano-coated with a thin overlay of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) using the atomic layer deposition (ALD) method. Then both LPGs and wafers were exposed to two different concentrations (10 and 100 mM) of sodium hydroxide NaOH, a well-known etchant of Al2O3. Transmission of the LPG was measured at different stages of the experiment for a fixed external refractive index (air or water) and the results were compared to reduction in Al2O3 thickness on reference Si wafers. It was found that the sensitivity to changes in the overlay thickness highly depends on the working conditions of the LPG, specifically the vicinity of the dispersion turning point and mode transition. When both the phenomena are present, the sensitivity reaches over 20 nm in resonance wavelength shift per single nm of the overlay. Compared to standard spectroscopic ellipsometry measurements typically used to determine the optical properties and thickness of thin film on flat surfaces, the measurements taken with this specially coated LPG offer higher (sub-nm) accuracy and the capability of real-time thickness monitoring.
Author Mateusz Jakub Śmietana IMiO
Mateusz Jakub Śmietana,,
- The Institute of Microelectronics and Optoelectronics
, Predrag Mikulic
Predrag Mikulic,,
, Wojtek J. Bock
Wojtek J. Bock,,
Journal seriesSensors and Actuators A Physical, ISSN 0924-4247
Issue year2018
No1 February 2018
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in EnglishGratings; Fiber-optic sensors; Thin films; Optical sensing and sensors; Materials and process characterization
projectx. Project leader: Śmietana Mateusz Jakub, , Phone: (22) 234 63 64, start date 20-05-2015, planned end date 19-05-2019, IMiO/2015/NCN/2, Implemented
WEiTI Projects financed by NSC [Projekty finansowane przez NCN]
Languageen angielski
Score (nominal)35
ScoreMinisterial score [Punktacja MNiSW] = 35.0, 25-01-2018, ArticleFromJournal
Ministerial score (2013-2016) [Punktacja MNiSW (2013-2016)] = 35.0, 25-01-2018, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators WoS Impact Factor [Impact Factor WoS]: 2016 = 2.499 (2) - 2016=2.478 (5)
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