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MultilayerFilms.nb Optics 505 - James C.

Wyant 1

8. Multilayer Films
Optical surfaces having virtually any desired reflectance and transmittance characteristics may be
produced by means of thin film coatings. The purpose of this chapter is to find an orderly method for
analyzing multi-layer thin films. We will first derive the characteristic matrix. From the elements of the
characteristic matrix we will solve for the coefficients of reflection and transmission. Then we will look
at examples of anti-reflection coatings and high-reflectance coatings.

8.1 Theory
1
Tangential components of E and H are continuous at an interface. (Figure 1 is from Optics by Hecht.)

Figure 1
MultilayerFilms.nb Optics 505 - James C. Wyant 2

Boundary I

EI = EiI + ErI = EtI + E'rII (1)


EiI , ErI , EtI , and E'rII represent the resultant of all waves traveling in a given
direction.


H = $%%%%%%%% $%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
o c
nk E ; n
o v o o

The continuity of the tangential component of H gives us

HI = $%%%%%%%% HEiI ErI L no Cos@iI D = $%%%%%%%% HEtI E'rII L n1 Cos@iII D


o o
(2)
o o

Boundary II
EII = EiII + ErII = EtII (3)

HII = $%%%%%%%% HEiII ErII L n1 Cos@iII D = $%%%%%%%% n Cos@tII D


o o
E (4)
o o tII s

Let

ko Hn1 d Cos@iII DL = ko h

Therefore
ko h
EiII = EtI ko h
; ErII = ErII
'

Note that the sign of the exponent is different from some books because I write Hkz-wtL instead of
- Hkz-wtL . Thus the boundary conditions at boundary II can be written as

ko h
EII = EtI ko h
+ E'rII (5)

HII = HEtI L $%%%%%%%% n Cos@iII D


ko h o
ko h
E'rII (6)
o 1

' and substituting into Equations 1 and 2 for boundary I


Solving the last two equations for EtI and ErII
yields

EI = EII Cos@ko hD HII H Sin@ko hDL 1 (7)

and

HI = EII 1 Sin@ko hD + HII Cos@ko hD (8)

where
MultilayerFilms.nb Optics 505 - James C. Wyant 3

1 = $%%%%%%%% n Cos@iII D;
o
o 1

If we went through the same derivation for E in the plane of incidence we would obtain a similar
equation except

"######
o #

Cos@iII D
o n1
1 = ;

In matrix notation

Sin@ko hD 1
J N=J N.J II N
EI Cos@ko hD E
(9)
HI 1 Sin@ko hD Cos@ko hD HII

or

J N = MI .J II N
EI E
(10)
HI HII
The characteristic matrix MI relates the field at two adjacent boundaries.

If two overlaying films are deposited on one substrate there would be three boundaries and

J N = MII .J III N
EII E
(11)
HII HIII
For p layers

J N = MI .MII Mp J N
EI Ep+1
(12)
HI Hp+1

M = MI .MII Mp = J N
m11 m12
(13)
m21 m22
To see how this fits together we will derive the expression for the amplitude coefficient of reflection and
transmission. Let

o = $%%%%%%%% n Cos@iI D;
o
o o

s = $%%%%%%%% n Cos@tII D;
o
o s

Combining Equations 1-4 and 10 yields

J N = J 11 12 N.J N
HEiI ErI L o
EiI + ErI m m EtII
m21 m22 EtII s

EiI + ErI = m11 EtII + m12 EtII s

HEiI ErI L o = m21 EtII + m22 EtII s

Let
MultilayerFilms.nb Optics 505 - James C. Wyant 4

ErI EtII
r= ; t= ;
EiI EiI

Then

1 + r = m11 t + m12 s t

H1 rL o = m21 t + m22 s t

Solving for r and t yields

Solve@81 + r == m11 t + m12 s t, H1 rL o == m21 t + m22 s t<, 8r, t<D


2 o Hm11 m12 s L
99r 1 ==
2 o
,t
m21 + m11 o + m22 s + m12 o s m21 + m11 o + m22 s + m12 o s

Consequently,

2 o Hm11 m12 s L
r = TogetherA1 E
m21 + m11 o + m22 s + m12 o s
m21 + m11 o m22 s + m12 o s
m21 + m11 o + m22 s + m12 o s

2 o
t= ;
m21 + m11 o + m22 s + m12 o s

Therefore for any combination of films we only need to compute the characteristic matrix and substitute
the matrix elements into the above.

8.2 Anti-reflection coatings (AR)


We will look at the case of normal incidence.

iI = 0; iII = 0; tII = 0;

o = $%%%%%%%% s = $%%%%%%%% 1 = $%%%%%%%%


o o o
n ; n ; n
o o o s o 1

Sin@ko hD 1
M =J N
Cos@ko hD
1 Sin@ko hD Cos@ko hD

Since only 1 layer present we will write the amplitude reflectance as r1 .

r1 = r;

r1 = Simplify@r1 .
8m11 Cos@ko hD, m12 Sin@ko hD 1 , m21 1 Sin@ko hD, m22 Cos@ko hD<D
Sin@h ko D 21 + Cos@h ko D 1 Ho s L + Sin@h ko D o s
Sin@h ko D 21 + Sin@h ko D o s + Cos@h ko D 1 Ho + s L

r1 = SimplifyAr1 . 9o $%%%%%%%% no , s $%%%%%%%% ns , 1 $%%%%%%%% n1 =E


o o o

Sin@h ko D n21 + Cos@h ko D n1 Hno ns L + Sin@h ko D no ns


o o o

Sin@h ko D n21 + Sin@h ko D no ns + Cos@h ko D n1 Hno + ns L

Cos@h ko D2 Hno ns L2 n21 + Sin@h ko D2 Hno ns n21 L


R1 = Abs@r1 D2 =
2

Cos@h ko D2 Hno + ns L2 n21 + Sin@h ko D2 Hno ns + n21 L


;
2
MultilayerFilms.nb Optics 505 - James C. Wyant 5

This becomes a simple formula if



ko h =
2

Hn1 dL;
2 o
ko h = n1 d =
o 4

R1 . ko h

Hn21 + no ns L
2

Hn21 + no ns L
2

!!!!!!!!!!!
R1 = 0 if n1 = no ns
!!!!!!!
If no = 1 and ns = 1.5 , n1 = 1.5 = 1.225.

Commonly use Mg F2 which has an index of 1.38 which is larger than desired. However, a single 1/4 l
layer reduces the reflectance from 4% to approximately 1% over the entire visible spectrum.

The reflectance can be reduced by using a double layer l/4 AR coating. As an example, put index n2 on
the substrate and index n1 on top of n2 .

M = M1 .M2

1 2
M=J N.J N MatrixForm
0 0

i 0 y
1 2
j z
0 0
j
j z
j 0 1 z
z
2
1

k 2 {

Since gi = $%%%%%%%%
eo
ni
mo

i n21 0 y
M =j
j
j
j 0
z
z
z;
nn12 z
n

k {

R2 = J N ;
m11 o m22 s 2
m11 o + m22 s

R2 = i
j n2 no ns n1 yz ;
k n2 no + ns n21 {
2 2 2

R2 = 0 if J N =
n2 2 ns
n1 no

Thus, n2 > n1 .

Common materials for the high refractive index are zirconium dioxide, n = 2.1; titanium dioxide, n= 2.4;
zinc sulfide, n = 2.32. Common materials for the low refractive index are magnesium fluoride, n = 1.38
and cerium fluoride, n = 1.63.

By using two layers, one of high index and one of low index, zero reflectance can be obtained at one
wavelength. Three layers can give zero reflectance at two wavelengths, etc.
MultilayerFilms.nb Optics 505 - James C. Wyant 6

8.3 High-reflectance coatings


The simplest periodic thin film system is a quarter-wave stack which is made up of a number of

look at the reflectance of sHn2 n1 L p a. From above it follows that


quarter-wave layers. For example, sHHLL3 a, where s is the substrate and a is air. As an example we will

i H nn21 L
j y
z
j
M =j z
z;
j n1 p z
p

H L
0

k 0 n2 {

i no H nn21 L ns H nn12 L y
R2 p = j
j
j
z
z
z ;
2

k no H n1 L + ns H n2 L
p p

{
n2 p n1 p

i
j I M y
z
j 1 z
=j
j z
z
2p 2

j z
ns n1

j
j z
z
I M
no n2

k 1+ {
R2 p ;
ns n1 2p
no n2

For zero reflectance

J N = s
n2 2 p n
n1 no

Therefore, n2 > n1 .

We previously looked at the case where p=1.

For high reflectance we want n2 >> n1 or n2 << n1 . Since ns > no , the result will converge a little faster
if n1 > n2 . The reflectance becomes higher as p increases. For a given p, the larger the ratio of refractive
indices the better we are.

R2 p . 8n1 1.35, n2 2.3, p 4, ns 1.5, no 1<


0.918935

R2 p . 8n1 2.3, n2 1.35, p 4, ns 1.5, no 1<


0.963128

Having n1 > n2 helped increase the reflectance. If p becomes 8 (16 layers) the reflectivity is greater than
99.9%.

R2 p . 8n1 2.3, n2 1.35, p 8, ns 1.5, no 1<


0.999471

The following plot shows the reflectance as a function of p, the number of n1 n2 layers.
MultilayerFilms.nb Optics 505 - James C. Wyant 7

n1 = 2.3 and n2 = 1.35


1

0.9
Reflectance
0.8

0.7

0.6

0.5

0.4
2 4 6 8 10
p, number of n1 and n2 layers

By using various combinations of quarter-wave stacks it is possible to make band pass filters, high pass
filters, low pass filters, etc. An excellent book on the topic is Thin-Film Optical Filters by H. A.
Macleod.

8.4 Non-normal incidence


At non-normal incidence up to approximately 30o there is generally little degradation in the response of
thin film coatings. In general, the effect of increasing angle is a shift in the reflectance curve down to
shorter wavelengths. Remember one of my favorite equations 2 n d Cos[q] = m l. If q increases,
Cos[q] decreases, and therefore we would expect l to decrease.