Thin film form birefringence depends on the shape or bunching of nanostructural columns and on the difference in the refractive indices of the columns and the surrounding voids. When moisture from the atmosphere enters the nanostructure the linear form birefringence may decrease by a large amount, of the order of 50%. However, current data refers to tilted-columnar films. We report here on moisture penetration effects in films fabricated by serial bideposition and engineered for large linear form birefringence or large circular form birefringence. As well, we consider post-deposition processes that may retard the uptake of moisture.
Vacuum deposition results in oxygen deficient surfaces which rapidly absorb oxygen from the atmosphere either in the form of O2 or H2O. In order to retard water uptake this deficiency must be reduced, possibly by annealing samples in an oxygen rich atmosphere subsequent to deposition. Alternatively, surface oxide and hydroxyl groups can be rendered hydrophobic via reaction with silane derivatives. Both methods have been tested for their effectiveness in retarding water uptake.© (1999) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.