Developing comparable optical metrology of materials used in photonics
The European Photonics industry encompasses over 5000 companies, 300,000 highly skilled jobs, and produces an annual turnover of €60 billion. Further digital transformation is, indirectly or directly, expected to be contingent on improved optical metrology. Designing products such as solar cells and batteries to exploit nanomaterials will require new approaches to material characterisation as these materials have quite different properties due to much larger surface area to volume ratios.
However, the optical properties of suitable materials and nanostructures used by the optics and semiconductor industries are difficult to measure and not accurately known. Developing the types of technologies expected to be in demand will likely be problematic as current data quality is inadequate, relies on calculated and estimated values and lacks reliable uncertainty estimations.
The project will support the development of reliable measurements of the optical properties of thin-film systems and nano-structures for wavelength ranges from IR to lower-energy X-rays, and offer relevant data to industrial users. Reference samples will be produced and characterised; and traceable reflectometry, Mueller ellipsometry and scatterometry methods developed. The knowledge of inverse modelling and virtual measurement methods will be advanced, plus optical response functions determined and shared.
Improved knowledge of the optical properties of materials used in photonics and semiconductor manufacturing materials will provide a foundation for developing novel nano-electronic devices, high-quality sensors and more effective photovoltaic elements, and so support future job creation in Europe.