Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Follow the light in the discovery of the wonders of nano

Ellipsometry is a versatile, non-destructive technique that works in real time in any transparent medium, based on the fact that when light is reflected from a surface of a material its polarization state undergoes some change depending on its own characteristics.

The word ellipsometry was first introduced in a scientific publication by Alexander Rother in 1945, and is based on the fact that the polarization of the light is generally elliptical. In the last years of the XIX century, Paul Drude derived the mathematical equations that allowed the calculation of the optical constants. In the 60’s, due to the availability of computers for numeric processing, ellipsometry suffered a renaissance. Besides measuring the thickness of a film of few nanometers or its optical constants, today, ellipsometry finds applications in different areas like semiconductor and data storage solutions, biosensors, optical coatings, microelectronics, surface chemistry.

The one recently acquired by INL is a spectroscopic imaging ellipsometer. With spectroscopy it is possible to know the optical constants as a function of the wavelength of light, enlightening to greater detail the secrets of complex materials. The imaging feature enables, for example, analyzing biochips without any labeling of the probes, an advantage when compared with techniques based on fluorescence or radioactivity. It is thus possible to examine the surface structure of, for instance DNA, on substrates like glass, silicon or gold with high spatial resolution and also in real-time to measure adsorption reactions by using diverse solid-liquid cells for in vitro conditions.

Follow the light in the discovery of the wonders of nano and be amazed with the beauty!

The photos show INL Engineer, Adelaide Carvalho, the author of this post, monitoring ellipsometry tests. The spectroscopic imaging ellipsometer, recently acquired by INL. Testing the equipment has been her main concern for the last couple of months.

December 20, 2010 - Posted by | INL Campus, INL Community, INL Project

1 Comment »

  1. With the spectroscopy, further insight into man’s dimension will be forthcoming.

    What has been so disheartening to me despite my lending asssitance to a new start up Nano Carbon Tubes manufacturer who will be supplying cost effective supply in the Spring…is the fact that given all that technology has afforded us thus far in the 20th and 21st century and promises us in the not-too-distant future, corruption is so riddled within the fabric of humanity and its self-serving ways, that precious investment monies and government supported research and the equipment required like the
    SIE – funding is drawn away from the hopes and aspirations of mankind –

    We must demand more og government and of ourselves. The world deserves far more than this narrow dysfucntional portrayal of mankind!

    Christopher Tingus
    The “Carbon Nano Tubes Salesman”

    Comment by christopher tingus | December 20, 2010 | Reply

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