Preparation of Thin Silica Films with Controlled Thicknes and Tunable Refractive Index

Silica films with controlled thickness and refractive index have been formed by the sequential adsorption of a cationic polyelectrolyte and silica sols. The conditions used to prepare the sol were varied, and allowed films with refractive indices as low as 1.16 to be obtained. The sequential adsorption technique allows the thickness of these films to be controlled in increments of 5−10 nm, depending on the desired refractive index. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that a low packing density of constituent silica particles was responsible for the low indices of these films. The as-adsorbed films are thermally robust; calcination at 500°C resulted in only very small decreases in film thickness (by ε 1.8%) and refractive index (to as low as 1.14). After calcination, the silica films remained hydrophilic and sorbed water vapor from the atmosphere. As a result, the refractive indices of these films increased with increasing relative humidity (RH). The dependence of the refractive index on RH was eliminated by treating the calcined films with trimethylchlorosilane.

© IMRC CAS 2016

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