The use of amorphous, SiO2-TiO2nanolayered coatings has been proposed recently for the mirrors of 3rd-generation interferometric detectors of gravitational waves, to be operated at low temperature. Coatings with a high number of low-high index sub-units pairs with nanoscale thickness were found to preserve the amorphous structure for high annealing temperatures, a key factor to improve the mechanical quality of the mirrors. The optimization of mirror designs based on such coatings requires a detailed knowledge of the optical properties of sub-units at the nm-thick scale. To this aim we have performed a Spectroscopic Ellipsometry (SE) study of amorphous SiO2-TiO2nanolayered films deposited on Si wafers by Ion Beam Sputtering (IBS). We have analyzed films that are composed of 5 and 19 nanolayers (NL5and NL19samples) and have total optical thickness nominally equivalent to a quarter of wavelength at 1064 nm. A set of reference optical properties for the constituent materials was obtained by the analysis of thicker SiO2and TiO2homogeneous films (∼ 120 nm) deposited by the same IBS facility. By flanking SE with ancillary techniques, such as TEM and AFM, we built optical models that allowed us to retrieve the broad-band (250–1700 nm) optical properties of the nanolayers in the NL5and NL19composite films. In the models which provided the best agreement between simulation and data, the thickness of each sub-unit was fitted within rather narrow bounds determined by the analysis of TEM measurements on witness samples. Regarding the NL5sample, with thickness of 19.9 nm and 27.1 nm for SiO2and TiO2sub-units, respectively, the optical properties presented limited variations with respect to the thin film counterparts. For the NL19sample, which is composed of ultrathin sub-units (4.4 nm and 8.4 nm for SiO2and TiO2, respectively) we observed a significant decrease of the IR refraction index for both types of sub-units; this points to a lesser mass density with respect to the thin film reference. The results are discussed in the light of the existing literature on nanofilms of amorphous oxides.

Optical properties of amorphous SiO2-TiO2multi-nanolayered coatings for 1064-nm mirror technology

MAGNOZZI, MICHELE;Terreni, S.;ANGHINOLFI, LUCA;Uttiya, S.;Carnasciali, M. M.;Neri, M.;Canepa, M.
2018

Abstract

The use of amorphous, SiO2-TiO2nanolayered coatings has been proposed recently for the mirrors of 3rd-generation interferometric detectors of gravitational waves, to be operated at low temperature. Coatings with a high number of low-high index sub-units pairs with nanoscale thickness were found to preserve the amorphous structure for high annealing temperatures, a key factor to improve the mechanical quality of the mirrors. The optimization of mirror designs based on such coatings requires a detailed knowledge of the optical properties of sub-units at the nm-thick scale. To this aim we have performed a Spectroscopic Ellipsometry (SE) study of amorphous SiO2-TiO2nanolayered films deposited on Si wafers by Ion Beam Sputtering (IBS). We have analyzed films that are composed of 5 and 19 nanolayers (NL5and NL19samples) and have total optical thickness nominally equivalent to a quarter of wavelength at 1064 nm. A set of reference optical properties for the constituent materials was obtained by the analysis of thicker SiO2and TiO2homogeneous films (∼ 120 nm) deposited by the same IBS facility. By flanking SE with ancillary techniques, such as TEM and AFM, we built optical models that allowed us to retrieve the broad-band (250–1700 nm) optical properties of the nanolayers in the NL5and NL19composite films. In the models which provided the best agreement between simulation and data, the thickness of each sub-unit was fitted within rather narrow bounds determined by the analysis of TEM measurements on witness samples. Regarding the NL5sample, with thickness of 19.9 nm and 27.1 nm for SiO2and TiO2sub-units, respectively, the optical properties presented limited variations with respect to the thin film counterparts. For the NL19sample, which is composed of ultrathin sub-units (4.4 nm and 8.4 nm for SiO2and TiO2, respectively) we observed a significant decrease of the IR refraction index for both types of sub-units; this points to a lesser mass density with respect to the thin film reference. The results are discussed in the light of the existing literature on nanofilms of amorphous oxides.
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