Date of this Version
APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS 106, 231901 (2015)
Optical characterization of anisotropic multicomponent nanostructures is generally not a trivial task, since the relation between a material’s structural properties and its permittivity tensor is nonlinear. In this regard, an array of slanted cobalt nanopillars that are conformally coated with few-layer graphene is a particularly challenging object for optical characterization, as it has a complex anisotropic geometry and comprises several materials with different topologies and filling fractions. Normally, a detailed characterization of such complex nanostructures would require a combination of several microscopic and spectroscopic techniques. In this letter, we demonstrate that the important structural parameters of these graphene-coated sculptured thin films can be determined using a fast and simple generalized spectroscopic ellipsometry test combined with an anisotropic Bruggeman effective medium approximation. The graphene coverage as well as structural parameters of nanostructured thin films agree excellently with electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy observations. The demonstrated optical approach may also be applied to the characterization of other nanostructured materials.