The ultimate in real-time ellipsometry: Multichannel Mueller matrix spectroscopy

Chi Chen, M. W. Horn, Sean Pursel, C. Ross, R. W. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A review of the techniques and applications of multichannel ellipsometry in the dual-rotating-compensator configuration is given. This ellipsometric approach has been established as the ultimate in real-time, single-spot optical measurement, as it determines the entire 16-element Mueller matrix of a sample over a wide spectral range (up to 1.7-5.3 eV) from raw data collected over a single optical period of 0.25 s. The sequence of optical elements for this ellipsometer is denoted PC 1r SC 2r A, where P, S, and A represent the polarizer, sample, and analyzer. C 1r and C 2r represent two MgF 2 rotating compensators, either biplates or monoplates that rotate synchronously at frequencies of ω 1 = 5ω and ω 2 = 3ω, where π/ω is the fundamental optical period. Previous high-speed Mueller matrix measurements with this instrument have been performed on uniform, weakly anisotropic samples such as (110) Si, in which case one can extract the bulk isotropic and near-surface anisotropic optical responses simultaneously. In such an application, the instrument is operated at its precision/accuracy limits. Here, ex situ results on a strongly anisotropic, locally biaxial film are presented that demonstrate instrument capabilities for real-time analysis of such films during fabrication or modification. In addition, the use of the instrument as a real-time probe to extract surface roughness evolution on three different in-plane scales for an isotropic film surface is demonstrated for the first time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-46
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number1 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Oct 31 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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