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3 June 2015 Characterization of ion-assisted induced absorption in A-Si thin-films used for multivariate optical computing
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Multivariate optical computing (MOC), an optical sensing technique for analog calculation, allows direct and robust measurement of chemical and physical properties of complex fluid samples in high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) downhole environments. The core of this MOC technology is the integrated computational element (ICE), an optical element with a wavelength-dependent transmission spectrum designed to allow the detector to respond sensitively and specifically to the analytes of interest. A key differentiator of this technology is it uses all of the information present in the broadband optical spectrum to determine the proportion of the analyte present in a complex fluid mixture. The detection methodology is photometric in nature; therefore, this technology does not require a spectrometer to measure and record a spectrum or a computer to perform calculations on the recorded optical spectrum. The integrated computational element is a thin-film optical element with a specific optical response function designed for each analyte. The optical response function is achieved by fabricating alternating layers of high-index (a-Si) and low-index (SiO2) thin films onto a transparent substrate (BK7 glass) using traditional thin-film manufacturing processes (e.g., ion-assisted e-beam vacuum deposition). A proprietary software and process are used to control the thickness and material properties, including the optical constants of the materials during deposition to achieve the desired optical response function. The ion-assisted deposition is useful for controlling the densification of the film, stoichiometry, and material optical constants as well as to achieve high deposition growth rates and moisture-stable films. However, the ion-source can induce undesirable absorption in the film; and subsequently, modify the optical constants of the material during the ramp-up and stabilization period of the e-gun and ion-source, respectively. This paper characterizes the unwanted absorption in the a-Si thin-film using advanced thin-film metrology methods, including spectroscopic ellipsometry and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The resulting analysis identifies a fundamental mechanism contributing to this absorption and a method for minimizing and accounting for the unwanted absorption in the thin-film such that the exact optical response function can be achieved.
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Aditya B. Nayak, James M. Price, Bin Dai, David Perkins, Ding Ding Chen, and Christopher M. Jones "Characterization of ion-assisted induced absorption in A-Si thin-films used for multivariate optical computing", Proc. SPIE 9482, Next-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies VIII, 94820A (3 June 2015);

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