Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version


Document Type



OPTICS EXPRESS, 27 February 2012, Vol. 20, No. 5, pp. 5419-5428.


© 2012 Optical Society of America. Used by permission.


We apply generalized ellipsometry, well-known to be sensitive to the optical properties of anisotropic materials, to determine the amount of fibronectin protein that adsorbs onto a Ti slanted columnar thin film from solution. We find that the anisotropic optical properties of the thin film change upon organic adsorption. An optical model for ellipsometry data analysis incorporates an anisotropic Bruggeman effective medium approximation. We find that differences in experimental data from before and after fibronectin adsorption can be solely attributable to the uptake of fibronectin within the slanted columnar thin film. Simultaneous, in-situ generalized ellipsometry and quartz crystal microbalance measurements show excellent agreement on the amount and rate of fibronectin adsorption. Quantitative characterization of organic materials within three-dimensional, optically anisotropic slanted columnar thin films could permit their use in optical sensor applications.