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1.1 MATHEMATICS, 1.3 PHYSICAL SCIENCES
We describe the synthesis of optical quality thin film materials with high refractive index, employing zirconium based hybrid sol-gel precursors. As the zirconium propoxide precursor is unstable in the presence of a strong nucleophilic agent such as water, two synthesis routes have been performed employing a chelating agent and an organosilane precursor to avoid the formation of any undesired ZrO2 agglomerates, leading to organo-zirconate complexes and silicato-zirconate copolymers, respectively. The prepared hybrid sol-gel materials were deposited by spin-coating to form a transparent thin film on silicon substrates, and heat treated at 100 °C for the final stabilisation of the layer. The effect of the two synthesis routes on the optical properties of zirconium based hybrid sol-gel material is discussed. It was found that the nature and concentration of the organosilane precursor can significantly affect the structural properties of the deposited films. A correlation was also demonstrated between the concentration of the organosilane precursor and the refractive index of the material. By reducing the concentration of organosilane precursor, high refractive index materials were obtained. Similar behaviour was observed for the materials synthesised via chelating agent. The synthesis employing an organosilane precursor produces films with higher refractive index. A maximum refractive index of 1.746 was measured at 635nm for the deposited thin films.
Oubaha, M. et al. (2011) Hybrid Zirconium Sol-Gel Thin Films With High Refractive Index, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 8191, 81911Q · doi:10.1117/12.900813