Local determination of thin liquid film profiles using colour interferometry

  • Calum S. Butler
  • Zoe L.E. Seeger
  • Toby D.M. Bell
  • Alexis I. Bishop
  • Rico F. TaborEmail author
Regular Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Wetting and Drying: Physics and Pattern Formation


We explore theoretically the interference of white light between two interfaces as a function of the optical conditions, using separately: a) idealised conditions where the light is composed of three discrete wavelengths; b) a more typically experimentally realisable case where light comprises a sum of three Gaussian wavelength distributions; and c) unfiltered white light from a broadband source comprising a broad distribution of wavelengths. It is demonstrated that the latter case is not only optically simple to arrange, but also provides unambiguous absolute separation information over the range 0-1μm --a useful range in studies of cell adhesion, thin liquid films and lubrication-- when coupled to detection using a typical colour camera. The utility of this technique is verified experimentally by exploring the air film between a cylinder and surface, as well as arbitrary liquid films beneath air bubbles that are interacting with solid surfaces.

Graphical abstract


Topical Issue: Wetting and Drying: Physics and Pattern Formation 


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Calum S. Butler
    • 1
  • Zoe L.E. Seeger
    • 1
  • Toby D.M. Bell
    • 1
  • Alexis I. Bishop
    • 2
  • Rico F. Tabor
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of ChemistryMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.School of PhysicsMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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