An optical approach for structural characterization of the modified surface layer in ion-implanted polymers is proposed. The mid-infrared reflectivity from the implanted surface is analyzed in terms of an oscillator dispersion model combined with the theory of differential reflection spectroscopy. The degree of destruction of a specific chemical bond is determined by the relative drop of the oscillator strengths associated with the corresponding vibrational modes. As an example, this methodology is applied to poly(methylmethacrylate) (PMMA) implanted with 50 keV silicon ions at fluences in the range 3 × 10<sup>14</sup> to 1 × 10<sup>17</sup> ions/cm<sup>2</sup>. The scission rates for the C=O, C–O–C, and C–H bonds, as well as the static dielectric constant of the ion-modified material, are calculated as a function of the ion fluence. Further, a lower-limit estimate of 120 nm for the thickness of the ion-modified layer is obtained.

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