Mounted nanoporous anodic alumina thin Films as planar optical waveguides

Lazzara, T. D. and Lau, K. H. A. and Knoll, W. (2010) Mounted nanoporous anodic alumina thin Films as planar optical waveguides. Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 10 (7). pp. 4293-4299. ISSN 1533-4880 (

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Solid-supported thin films of self-organized nanoporous anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) have been widely employed for the template preparation of nanostructured functional materials. Recently, the use of nanoporous AAO thin films in optical waveguide spectroscopy (OWS) has been explored for high sensitivity, in situ monitoring of processes occurring within these nanoporous templates. In this contribution, we demonstrate a strategy for mounting bulk anodized AAO thin films on heterogeneous solid-supports suitable for waveguide sensing experiments. Unlike conventional preparations of AAO thin films by anodization of vacuum- or electrochemically deposited Al thin films, the full range of techniques available to anodize bulk Al may potentially be applied with the present method. Moreover, we show that AAO thin films mounted on glass substrates can have superior waveguide coupling properties compared to conventionally prepared samples. The nanostructure of the AAO can be well characterized by an EMT-OWS analysis, demonstrated by comparing scanning electron microscopy images of the AAO and the pore dimensions calculated from an effective medium theory (EMT) analysis of the film refractive index measured by OWS. Finally, using a curved metallic substrate as an example, we show that our mounting technique can be used as a general strategy to functionalize objects with nanoporous AAO films.