Stress effects in prism coupling measurements of thin polymer films
Applied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing
341 - 345
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Due to the increasingly important role of some polymers in optical waveguide technologies, precise measurement of their optical properties has become important. Typically, prism coupling to slab waveguides made of materials of interest is used to measure the relevant optical parameters. However, such measurements are often complicated by the softness of the polymer films when stress is applied to the prism to couple light into the waveguides. In this work, we have investigated the optical properties of three different polymers, polystyrene (PS), polymethyl-methacrylate (PMMA), and benzocyclobutane (BCB). For the first time, the dependence of the refractive index, film thickness, and birefringence on applied stress in these thin polymer films was determined by means of the prism coupling technique. Both symmetric trapezoid shaped and right-angle prisms were used to couple the light into the waveguides. It was found that trapezoid shaped prism coupling gives better results in these thin polymer films. The refractive index of PMMA was found to be in the range of 1.4869 up to 1.4876 for both TE and TM polarizations under the applied force, which causes a small decrease in the film thickness of up to 0.06 μm. PMMA waveguide films were found not to be birefringent. In contrast, both BCB and PS films exhibit birefringence albeit of opposing signs.
Prism coupling measurements
Thin polymer films