The overall objective of the project is to develop traceable measurement techniques for optical constants of thin-film systems and nanostructures and to use these techniques to support the introduction of an improved optical properties database for industrial users. The specific objectives are:

1.    To identify, select and produce test samples including ultra-thin layer systems, complex nanostructures (e.g. PillarHalls) and novel materials (high k-materials and other materials, e.g. 2D nanosheets). In addition, to provide metrologically characterised optical response data for use in the existing databases and models that are used by industry.

2.    To develop reflectometry, Mueller ellipsometry and scatterometry as reliable and traceable thin-film metrology techniques in the soft X‑ray to IR spectral range, for determining the layer thickness, optical properties (such as the refractive index, absorption coefficient, reflectivity) and dielectric tensors of the test samples developed in objective 1. This should include the development of reference materials that are suitable for industrial use.

3.    To develop and apply advanced mathematical models for virtual and real measurements in order to determine the optical response of the test samples developed in objective 1 and their dependence on complex nanostructures. The uncertainties associated with ab initio methods, interlayer roughness, crystal structures, model reduction techniques, surrogate modelling, machine learning and inverse modelling should also be determined.

4.    To determine the optical constants and the corresponding measurement uncertainties of thin stratified layer systems and to estimate the geometrical parameters of these complex nanostructures in the soft X‑ray to IR spectral range. In addition, to assemble a database of optical constants, dielectric tensors and estimated geometrical parameters, including both measurement values and virtual/simulated measurement data.

5.    To facilitate the take up of the technology and measurement infrastructure developed in the project by the measurement supply chain (photonics industry), standards developing organisations (DIN, ISO) and end users (photovoltaics, advanced manufacturing and healthcare sectors).