The manufacture of complicated optical coatings consisting of many layers of different thicknesses can be a challenge, especially if the deposition technique does not produce dense layers. Deposition errors in a layer can affect not only the desired performance of a multilayer, but can also lead to a complete breakdown of the monitoring and control of subsequent layers. The best chance to achieve the desired optical performance of a multilayer involves deposition error compensation. In this process, the construction parameters of a completed layer are evaluated to determine if any deposition errors have occurred and then the remaining layers of the multilayer system are reoptimized to compensate for any errors made. This paper describes a versatile deposition error compensation program developed at the National Research Council of Canada for the simulation and real-time control of the manufacture of multilayers composed of dielectric or absorbing films. To model porous layers, an effective medium theory approach is used to relate the optical constants of the layer in vacuum and air to the microstructure of the layer. In the simulation mode, random errors are applied to the thickness and porosity of the layers and measurement errors are also included. The best monitoring strategy for the manufacture of a given multilayer is established on the basis of statistical information obtained from a number of these simulations. In this paper the results of calculations on the effectiveness of various monitoring strategies are presented for a sharp edge filter produced by three different physical vapor deposition methods. An extensive list of references to previous papers dealing with sources of errors during deposition is also provided.
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