Optical Thin-Film Measurements by Ellipsometry
Ellipsometry is an optical measuring method that utilizes the polarization changes that happen whenever light is reflected by (or transmitted through) a surface, e.g. of a bulk material or thin-film. Over time it has gained popularity in semiconductor and optical coating applications due to its higher sensitivity in comparison to traditional reflection measurements. Therefore, ellipsometry is now used to accurately characterize composition, roughness, thickness, crystalline properties, electrical conductivity, and other material properties of diverse samples.
In the latest release of the fast physical optics software VirtualLab Fusion, 2023.1, the Ellipsometry Analyzer has been added to the ever-increasing array of features available in the software. It provides an easy and straightforward way to investigate the properties of coatings, multi-layer structures and gratings through the application of ellipsometry concepts on the electromagnetic field results produced by the simulation. In addition, it offers the possibility of varying the wavelength and the incidence angle automatically from within the analyzer itself, in order to conveniently generate the typical ellipsometry curves which can, after being fitted to a model, go on to reveal the material properties we seek to obtain from these experiments. You can find below links to the documentation that explains how to work with this new analyzer, as well as an example scenario in which the tool in question is applied to a silicon dioxide coating.
Graphical Representation of Polarization Ellipses
As light is much more than just power and flux, the full vectorial representation as an electromagnetic field is of interest for most modern optical applications where the polarization state of the light can be influenced by anything from gratings to refractive surfaces. In order to be able to account, not just for the polarization properties of the source, but also for the (potentially complex) evolution of the polarization state as the light propagates through the system, the latest release of the fast physical optics modeling and design software VirtualLab Fusion, 2023.1, offers the possibility of displaying the polarization state of the electromagnetic field as a graphical overlay directly on top of the field data. The so-called polarization ellipses are a common way to visualize the time-dependent path followed by the field vector in space. However, in non-paraxial systems, these ellipses exhibit in general a three-dimensional, locally varying behavior that is a far cry from the simplified global polarization in two dimensions that is typically covered in optics education. The gridded overlay provided in VirtualLab Fusion can easily describe any local variation of the polarization, and with the option to configure which cross section the displayed polarization ellipses refer to, the full three-dimensional path of the electric field vector can also be visualized.
A detailed document about this feature, detailing its function and visualization options, can be found below. The technology behind this – Graphics Add-ons – is also used to easily superimpose other information onto the field. Examples of this could be a point cloud representing the dot diagram that corresponds to a given field result, or a region in which a detector is active, both of which can be overlayed onto the field data with a few clicks. An overview of the different uses of Graphic Add-ons can also be found in the documents below.Read more
3D System Visualization
To obtain a fundamental understanding of the geometry of an optical system as well as of the positions of the individual elements relative to each other, the fast physical optics modeling and design software VirtualLab Fusion offers specific tools that produce results comparable to those of classic ray tracers. In the latest version, 2023.1, these tools have been overhauled to make them easier to use. We also included new functionalities, such as the ability to make a magnifying glass appear around the cursor, or full-sized rulers around the edges of the document that automatically track the x and y position of the mouse cursor. In the examples below, you can find an in-depth description of the tool itself and an application example of an f-theta lens.Read more
Interference-Based Optical Testing Systems
To perform high-precision inspections of structured surfaces, which are commonly used in e.g. the semiconductor industry, optical testing systems based on interference effects can be used. A full simulation of these setups needs to include all physical optical effects, like diffraction at the structure, coherence and the resulting interference at the image plane. To help the optical engineer in this task, the fast physical optics software VirtualLab Fusion offers a series of tools to include diffraction and non-sequential modelling in the system.
With the release of the new version 2023.1 we also provide a new detector concept which allows the user to calculate any physical quantity that might be of interest, directly from the field information. To see all these tools in action, we showcase two examples below. In the first one, a high-NA objective is used to inspect an asymmetric micro-structured wafer, while in the second example we show the irradiance patterns from a classical Fizeau interferometer using differently shaped test surfaces.Read more
Precise Physical and Numerical Control Tools
With the release of version 2023.1 of the fast physical optics modeling and design software VirtualLab Fusion we promised “More Transparency, More Control, Easier Use”. To deliver on this promise, we have completely overhauled the way in which the simulation settings are controlled. In this week’s newsletter we put the spotlight on two different control panels through which users can strike exactly the balance they want between speed and precision in their simulations.
The Speed vs. Accuracy panel contains a selection of different sampling-related tools, including easy-to-use sliders to specify e.g. Nyquist sampling. The Paraxial Assumptions panel allows the user to apply approximations to the system that speed up simulation times for paraxial systems.Read more
The Detector Revolution
The all new version 2023.1 of the fast physical optics modeling and design software has finally arrived. And with it come lots of new features. One we want to particularly highlight is the new Universal Detector and the evolution it brings with it in terms of detector modeling. This new element replaces the Electromagnetic Field Detector and like its predecessor, can display any field component in x- and k-domain. Furthermore, with its inclusion of customizable add-ons, this detector allows for utmost flexibility, as any physical value can be calculated from the provided field information, directly.
Hence, for this week’s newsletter, we present you an in-depth look into the Universal Detector, as well as an application example in the form of an aspherical focusing system. In this optical setup we display the field (including the phase distribution), calculate the energy density of the focus and investigate the change in the spot size as the beam travels through its focal region. With our new detector concept, this all can be carried out with the same detector.Read more
More Transparency, More Control, Easier Use – Configuring Your Simulations in the New VirtualLab Fusion 2023.1!
Configuring Your Simulations in the New VirtualLab Fusion 2023.1
The wait was definitely worth it – the latest version of VirtualLab Fusion 2023.1 has been released! And, with it, a completely overhauled way to configure the parameters of your simulation that offers more transparency, more control and is subsequently easier to use, making the experience of working with the Fast Physical Optics software a lot smoother for our users. Whether you want to take advantage of the more straightforward off-the-shelf “configuration packages” and default settings we offer for those starting out with the software, or whether you prefer to roll up your sleeves and get into the nitty-gritty of it all and manually adjust all the advanced settings yourself – It’s your call!
The documents linked below explain the different places in the software where you can control all the different aspects of the configuration of your Optical Setup, like the inclusion of diffraction in your simulation or sampling considerations, among many other things, and also introduce the new Profile Editor: the one stop that provides a global overview of all the simulation parameters of the system and allows you to pinpointedly control each and every one of them, should you so desire.
Take a look, and learn how to unleash the power of Fast Physical Optics!Read more