File(s) not publicly available
Optical phase change at the interface between mica and thin silver film
journal contributionposted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by W Briscoe, Roger Horn
We describe a simple experiment which allows unequivocal determination of optical phase change upon reflection of light at the mica-silver interface. While the physical origin of such a phase change at the dielectric-metal interface is well understood to lie in absorption of electromagnetic energy by the metal, inconsistency and ambiguity has persisted as to what its sign and magnitude should be in the field of thin film optics. Most commonly, it has been assigned to be negative for mathematical convenience or just arbitrarily. Our finding shows that with the convention exp(-iωt) for time dependence of the electromagnetic wave, the phase change at the interface between mica and the thin silver film is necessarily positive and its magnitude falls between π and 3π/2 for silver thicknesses down to nanometres. This gives a physically reasonable correspondence to an increased equivalent thickness of the dielectric material, and it clarifies the assignment of interference orders in the harmonic series in a spectrum.