A direct numerical inversion method is applied to the monitoring of thin-film growth. Several improvements of the method, including a correction for weakly absorbing materials, are presented. The method has been successfully applied to the inversion of the growth of constant-refractive-index layers and used for the process calibration of plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition of silicon oxynitrides. The validity of this calibration has been successfully tested on a linear index gradient and quintic matching layer between a polycarbonate substrate and a scratch-resistant coating.
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