Optical techniques are important in the characterisation of materials in addition to providing important information on the fundamental physics associated with them. A range of optical instrumentation is available in-house of which the most important are Raman spectroscopy and ellipsometry. A triple monochromator Raman system provides data on fundamental excitations in materials, which can be related to material parameters such as stress or crystallinity. Ellipsometry measures the refractive properties of materials as well as thin film thicknesses and provides complimentary information to Raman spectroscopy.
The Materials Physics laboratory houses the latest state-of-the-art spectroscopic ellipsometer with variable temperature facilities, enabling optical properties to be studied from temperatures as low as 4K up to temperatures of 500K. Currently, these instruments are being used to study a range of material systems, including thin buried semiconductor layer systems, quantum dot devices, high temperature superconductors, glasses, organic semiconductors and bio-molecules.