In situ ellipsometric diagnostics of multilayer thin film deposition during sputtering

Xiang Gao, Darin W. Glenn, John A. Woollam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In this work, in situ spectroscopic ellipsometry (in situ SE) is used to determine precisely the optical constants undisturbed by oxidation, and the growth rates of different metal and dielectric films deposited by sputtering. In situ SE determines both the constant, and potentially changing growth rates during deposition of individual layers. The SE data were also taken during growth of metallic multilayers, from which we determine the individual layer thicknesses to a fraction of an Angstrom. The in situ and ex situ ellipsometric analysis of a [Co/Au] multilayer on thick gold coated silicon, [Co/Pt] multilayers with a Pt underlayer, and SiC cladded TbFeCo layers are presented. Less than a few percent difference in multilayer period thickness was found by comparing low angle X-ray diffraction results to the in situ SE results. In situ SE also permitted studies of oxidation kinetics, which are important because oxidation in ultra thin films can strongly influence properties and performance of devices made with ultra thin multilayers. This research is especially relevant to the data storage industry, where control of ultra thin metallic layers is critical to reproducible manufacture of both read-write heads and recording media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-515
Number of pages5
JournalThin Solid Films
StatePublished - Feb 13 1998


  • In situ
  • Multilayers
  • Spectroscopic ellipsometry
  • Sputter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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