Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article
|<mark>Journal publication date</mark>||03/2000|
|Number of pages||7|
Surface Brillouin spectroscopy makes it possible to measure surface elastic wave propagation parameters at frequencies up to 20 GHz or more. This enables us to measure the elastic properties of surface layers only a small fraction of a micrometre thick. The wavelength and incident angle of the light determine the wavenumber of surface elastic waves (SAW) that scatter the light inelastically, and their frequency can be found by measuring the change in wavelength of the scattered light. By analysing the elastic wave modes present in the surface, the elastic properties can be deduced. We have used this technique to measure the elastic properties of layered nanocomposite materials, which are widely used in the packaging industry. 12 mu m polymer films (PET) were coated with glass oxide layers of thickness as little as 25 nm, to give transparent nanocomposite structures with excellent gas barrier properties. In order to understand and model the behaviour of these films under deformation, it is necessary to determine the elastic properties of the different layers. Evaluation of the elastic properties presents several challenges. First, the oxide layers are much thinner than the wavelengths of the surface phonons in surface Brillouin spectroscopy (and hence the depth probed), which usually lie in the range 250-500 nm. The anisotropic elastic properties of the PET substrate must therefore be measured accurately, and this can be done using bulk Brillouin spectroscopy. Second, a thin layer of metal (usually 10-20 nm) must be deposited on the glass surface so that the surface phonons scatter the light effectively. The elastic properties of the glass layer can then be deduced from surface Brillouin spectroscopy measurements, by simulating the surface wave modes of the metal/glass/polymer composite, and adjusting the parameters to give the best fit. In this way it is possible to observe how the properties of the glass vary as a function of thickness, and in turn to understand how to improve systematically the properties under deformation. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.