Porous materials with nanometer-scale structure are important in a wide variety of applications including electronics, photonics, biomedicine, and chemistry. Recent interest focuses on understanding and controlling the properties of these materials. Here we demonstrate porous silicon interference filters, deposited in vacuum with a technique that enables continuous variation of the refractive index between that of bulk silicon and that of the ambient (n ∼ 3.5 to 1). Nanometer-scale oscillations in porosity were introduced with glancing angle deposition, a technique that combines oblique deposition onto a flat substrate of glass or silicon in a high vacuum with computer control of substrate tilt and rotation. Complex refractive index profiles were achieved including apodized filters, with Gaussian amplitude modulations of a sinusoidal index variation, as well as filters with index matching antireflection regions. A novel quintic antireflection coating is demonstrated where the refractive index is smoothly decreased to that of the ambient, reducing reflection over a broad range of the infrared spectrum. Optical transmission characteristics of the filters were accurately predicted with effective medium modeling coupled with a calibration performed with spectroscopic ellipsometry.
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