, Volume 11, Issue 7, pp 1521-1554,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 Jun 2009

Spectroscopic ellipsometry and polarimetry for materials and systems analysis at the nanometer scale: state-of-the-art, potential, and perspectives


This paper discusses the fundamentals, applications, potential, limitations, and future perspectives of polarized light reflection techniques for the characterization of materials and related systems and devices at the nanoscale. These techniques include spectroscopic ellipsometry, polarimetry, and reflectance anisotropy. We give an overview of the various ellipsometry strategies for the measurement and analysis of nanometric films, metal nanoparticles and nanowires, semiconductor nanocrystals, and submicron periodic structures. We show that ellipsometry is capable of more than the determination of thickness and optical properties, and it can be exploited to gain information about process control, geometry factors, anisotropy, defects, and quantum confinement effects of nanostructures.