Tutorial Course Descriptions

Detailed Syllabus

M-102 Introduction to Ellipsometry

Ellipsometry is an important characterization technique for optical coatings. This tutorial will build an understanding of ellipsometry fundamentals. We start with basic theory behind optical measurements and discuss how ellipsometry extracts thin film properties such as single and multi-layer film thickness, complex refractive index, porosity, conductivity, and composition. A wide range of ellipsometry applications will be surveyed, with emphasis toward optical coatings.

The level of this tutorial is suitable for those new to the field of optical characterization but also contains worth-while information for current ellipsometry users. It will benefit anyone interested in exploring the potential of ellipsometry measurements.

Topical Outline:
  • Principles of ellipsometry
  • Optical constants and light-matter interaction
  • Using Ellipsometry to measure material properties
    • Film thickness, complex refractive index, …
  • Survey of applications:
    • What can Ellipsometry measure?
    • Ex-situ, in-situ, and in-line examples.


Course Details:

I. Principles of Ellipsometry
• Light and Polarization
• Optical constants and light-matter interaction
• Model-based Analysis

II. Using Ellipsometry to Measure Material Properties
• Film Thickness
• Complex Refractive Index
• Surface and Interfacial Regions
• Optical Gradients
• Composition
• Crystallinity
• Conductivity

III. Survey of Applications: ex-situ, in-situ, and in-line
• Optical Coatings
• Transparent Conductive Oxides
• Thin Film Photovoltaics
In-situ and In-Line Monitoring and Control

Instructor: James N. Hilfiker, J.A. Woollam Co. Inc.
James N. Hilfiker

graduated from the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Nebraska in 1995, where he studied under John Woollam. His graduate research involved in-situ ellipsometry applied to both sputter-deposition and electrochemical reactions, and optical characterization of magneto-optic thin films. He joined the J.A. Woollam Company upon graduation, where his research has focused on new applications of ellipsometry, including characterization of anisotropic materials, liquid crystal films, thin film photovoltaics, and Mueller matrix optical characterization. He has authored over 50 technical articles involving ellipsometry, including Encyclopedia articles and four book chapters on topics as varied as Vacuum Ultraviolet Ellipsometry, In-Situ Spectroscopic, and Dielectric Function Modeling. In 2015, James co-authored a book titled “Spectroscopic Ellipsometry: Practical Application to Thin Film Characterization."

This course is currently available via:
On Location Education Program

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