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Fundamentals of Film Growth by Glancing Angle Deposition for Inorganic and Inorganic/Liquid Crystal Hybrid Optical Systems Open Access


Other title
Glancing angle deposition
Metal oxide
Liquid crystal
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wakefield, Nicholas George
Supervisor and department
Sit, Jeremy (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Watkins, Simon (Physics)
Van, Vien (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Brett, Michael (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Elias, Anastasia (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This thesis investigates two facets of thin film growth via glancing angle deposition. The first half of the work focuses on the fundamentals of film growth with a focus on uniformity and optical design. This portion of the thesis addresses important engineering questions that are relevant to future commercialization of this technology, by investigating issues of scalability and repeatability, which are crucial for large scale manufacturing. This research is also directly applicable to laboratory research as it allows for combinatorial approaches to experimental design, and addresses experimental uncertainty in device performance. This work underscores the importance of film density and column tilt, and the material constants that quantify these parameters. This work illustrates how knowledge of these constants is sufficient to predict a wide variety of important film properties, including thickness, density and column tilt non-uniformities, and can be used to predict and design the anisotropic optical properties of columnar thin films. This design flexibility is illustrated experimentally in the fabrication of a novel, single material, thin film, normal-incidence, reflective linear polarizer. The second half of the thesis investigates the interaction between liquid crystalline molecules and nanoporous metal oxide films. It builds upon prior work by a number of researchers, and contributes a two-dimensional finite element model based on an elastic model of nematic liquid crystals in order to explain molecular alignment in these systems. The model indicates how film column tilt, film density and columnar aspect ratio contribute to molecular alignment, and suggests methods by which to achieve the desired film alignment. Experimentally, a number of reactive and non-reactive nematic liquid crystals are studied in silica thin films, with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic surface chemistries to examine real-world behaviour of a variety of systems. Finally, a system of fluorescent, reactive liquid crystals embedded in silica thin films placed on top of a transparent substrate is investigated for use as a luminescent solar concentrator, and is found to significantly enhance device performance.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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