In-Situ Ellipsometric Study of the Optical Properties of LTL-Doped Thin Film Sensors for Copper(II) Ion Detection
Optical sensors fabricated in zeolite nanoparticle composite films rely on changes in their optical properties (refractive index, n, and thickness, d) to produce a measurable response in the presence of a target analyte. Here, ellipsometry is used to characterize the changes in optical properties of Linde Type L (LTL) zeolite thin films in the presence of Cu2+ ions in solution, with a view to improving the design of optical sensors that involve the change of n and/or d due to the adsorption of
... the adsorption of Cu2+ ions. The suitability of two different ellipsometry techniques (single wavelength and spectroscopic) for the evaluation of changes in n and d of both undoped and zeolite-doped films during exposure to water and Cu2+-containing solutions was investigated. The influence of pre-immersion thermal treatment conditions on sensor response was also studied. Due to the high temporal resolution, single wavelength ellipsometry facilitated the identification of a Cu2+ concentration response immediately after Cu2+ introduction, indicating that the single wavelength technique is suitable for dynamic studies of sensor–analyte interactions over short time scales. In comparison, spectroscopic ellipsometry produced a robust analysis of absolute changes in film n and d, as well as yielding insight into the net influence of competing and simultaneous changes in n and d inside the zeolite-doped films arising due to water adsorption and the ion exchange of potassium (K+) cations by copper (Cu2+).