We use precision ellipsometry to evaluate the existence of nanometer thick vapor films at the surface between a liquid and a hydrophobic alkylsilane coated Si wafer. We find no evidence for such vapor films. All of our fluid-solid ellipsometry measurements can be explained using a double layer model consisting of an oxide plus silane layer between the fluid and bulk Si substrate. We have carefully checked our ellipsometer for residual phase shifts which might, under certain circumstances, cause a mis-interpretation of the experimental results. We find that the most reliable ellipsometric results for thin films (which are relatively immune to the presence of small residual phase shifts) are collected at the Brewster angle. The dielectric constant of the native oxide coating is also compared with similar measurements for two thick (∼ 100-300 nm) thermally grown oxide coatings on a Si wafer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces and Interfaces