Spectroscopic ellipsometry

Spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) is a non-destructive optical technique that is used to determine thin film and bulk materials thickness. SE measures the change in reflected polarized light. Measures can be done to single and multi-layer films.

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Spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE) is an optical technique that characterizes polarized light reflection from a sample's surface. SE is used to characterize thin film and bulk materials. Film can be a single or multi-layer film with preferred thickness between 1nm and 1000nm (or 1μm).

The method is based on unpolarized light that is sent through a polarizer allowing only light with a certain electric field orientation to pass through. Linearly polarized light travels to the sample and reflects from the surface as elliptically polarized. Ellipsometry measures two values, amplitude ratio (tanψ) and the phase difference (Δ), which describe the change in the polarization after light has interacted with the sample. The method can be used to analyze material properties, such as thickness and refractive index. SE is a nondestructive and noncontact method. It can be used for flat and transparent and semitransparent films.

Suitable sample matrices

  • Transparent and semitransparent samples
  • Thin films
  • Semiconductors
  • Dielectrics
  • Polymers
  • Organic coatings
  • Metal layers

Ideal uses of Spectroscopic ellipsometry

  • Measuring thicknesses of single and multi-layered thin films
  • Measuring optical properties of thin films

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Frequently asked questions

What is SE commonly used for?

Spectroscopic ellipsometry is used to characterize the properties of the thin film and bulk materials, such as thickness and refractive index.

What are the limitations of SE?

Measured film should be optically flat meaning that it reflects light from the surface. Too rough surfaces scatter a beam away from the detector which prevents the ellipsometric measurement. The film must also be transparent or semitransparent that light can pass through.

Preferred thickness of the sample is between 1nm and 1000nm.

What kind of samples can be analyzed with SE?

SE can be used for a wide variety of thin films including semiconductors, polymers, dielectrics, and even metal layers.

What is Measurlabs?

Measurlabs offers a variety of laboratory analyses for product developers and quality managers. We perform some of the analyses in our own lab, but mostly we outsource them to carefully selected partner laboratories. This way we can send each sample to the lab that is best suited for the purpose, and offer high-quality analyses with more than a thousand different methods to our clients.

How does the service work?

When you contact us through our contact form or by email, one of our specialists will take ownership of your case and answer your query. You get an offer with all the necessary details about the analysis, and can send your samples to the indicated address. We will then take care of sending your samples to the correct laboratories and write a clear report on the results for you.

How do I send my samples?

Samples are usually delivered to our laboratory via courier. Contact us for further details before sending samples.

Measure offers spectroscopic ellipsometry services for determination of thin film thickness. Thickness of single and multilayer thin films is measured by analyzing changes in polarized light. Preferred thickness of the sample is between 1nm and 1000nm (or 1µm).