Abstract

We study how accurately a naked human eye can determine the thickness of thin films from the observed color. Our approach is based on a color-matching experiment between thin-film samples and a simulated color field shown on an LCD monitor. We found that the human color observation provides an extremely accurate evaluation of the film thickness, and is comparable to sophisticated instrumental methods. The remaining color differences for the matched color pairs are close to the literature value for the smallest visually perceivable color difference.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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References

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  1. J. Poortmans and V. Arkhipov, eds., Thin Film Solar Cells: Fabrication, Characterization and Applications (Wiley, 2006).
  2. K. Ellmer, A. Klein, and B. Rech, eds., Transparent Conductive Zinc Oxide: Basics and Applications in Thin Film Solar Cells (Springer, 2007).
  3. B. Shin, O. Gunawan, Y. Zhu, N. A. Bojarczuk, S. J. Chey, and S. Guha, Prog. Photovoltaics 21, 72 (2013).
    [Crossref]
  4. D. Liu and T. L. Kelly, Nat. Photonics 8, 133 (2014).
    [Crossref]
  5. E. Passaglia, R. R. Stronberg, and J. Kruger, eds., Ellipsometry in the Measurement of Surfaces and Thin Films (National Bureau of Standards, 1964).
  6. A. Ulman, Characterization of Organic Thin Films (Momentum, 2010).
  7. H. A. MacLeod, Thin-Film Optical Filters, 4th ed. (CRC Press, 2010), Chap. 13.
  8. R. G. Kuehni, Color Res. Appl. 33, 324 (2008).
  9. H. R. Kang, Color Technology for Electronic Imaging Devices (SPIE, 1997).
  10. R. W. G. Hunt, Measuring Color, 3rd ed. (Fountain, 1998).
  11. G. A. Klein, Industrial Color Physics (Springer, 2010).
  12. W. R. J. Brown, J. Opt. Soc. Am. 42, 837 (1952).
    [Crossref]
  13. A. Yebra, J. A. Garca, and J. Romero, J. Opt. 25, 231 (1994).
    [Crossref]
  14. CIE International Commission on Illumination, “CIE 159:2004 A colour appearance model for colour management systems: CIECAM02” (CIE, 2004).
  15. CIE International Commission on Illumination, “CIE 15:2004 Colorimetry” (CIE, 2004).
  16. P. R. Kinnear and A. Sahraie, British J. Ophthalmol. 86, 1408 (2002).
    [Crossref]
  17. M. R. Luo, G. Cui, and C. Li, Color Res. Appl. 31, 320 (2006).
    [Crossref]
  18. M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 7th ed. (Cambridge University, 1999), p. 66.
  19. CIE International Commission on Illumination, “CIE S 014-1/E:2006 CIE Colorimetry—Part 1: Standard colorimetric observers” (CIE, 2006).
  20. G. Wyszecki and W. S. Stiles, Color Science: Concepts and Methods, Quantitative Data and Formulae, 2nd ed. (Wiley, 2000).
  21. S. Peterhänsel, H. Laamanen, M. Kuittinen, J. Turunen, C. Pruss, W. Osten, and J. Tervo, Opt. Lett. 39, 3547 (2014).
    [Crossref]

2014 (2)

2013 (1)

B. Shin, O. Gunawan, Y. Zhu, N. A. Bojarczuk, S. J. Chey, and S. Guha, Prog. Photovoltaics 21, 72 (2013).
[Crossref]

2008 (1)

R. G. Kuehni, Color Res. Appl. 33, 324 (2008).

2006 (1)

M. R. Luo, G. Cui, and C. Li, Color Res. Appl. 31, 320 (2006).
[Crossref]

2002 (1)

P. R. Kinnear and A. Sahraie, British J. Ophthalmol. 86, 1408 (2002).
[Crossref]

1994 (1)

A. Yebra, J. A. Garca, and J. Romero, J. Opt. 25, 231 (1994).
[Crossref]

1952 (1)

Bojarczuk, N. A.

B. Shin, O. Gunawan, Y. Zhu, N. A. Bojarczuk, S. J. Chey, and S. Guha, Prog. Photovoltaics 21, 72 (2013).
[Crossref]

Born, M.

M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 7th ed. (Cambridge University, 1999), p. 66.

Brown, W. R. J.

Chey, S. J.

B. Shin, O. Gunawan, Y. Zhu, N. A. Bojarczuk, S. J. Chey, and S. Guha, Prog. Photovoltaics 21, 72 (2013).
[Crossref]

Cui, G.

M. R. Luo, G. Cui, and C. Li, Color Res. Appl. 31, 320 (2006).
[Crossref]

Garca, J. A.

A. Yebra, J. A. Garca, and J. Romero, J. Opt. 25, 231 (1994).
[Crossref]

Guha, S.

B. Shin, O. Gunawan, Y. Zhu, N. A. Bojarczuk, S. J. Chey, and S. Guha, Prog. Photovoltaics 21, 72 (2013).
[Crossref]

Gunawan, O.

B. Shin, O. Gunawan, Y. Zhu, N. A. Bojarczuk, S. J. Chey, and S. Guha, Prog. Photovoltaics 21, 72 (2013).
[Crossref]

Hunt, R. W. G.

R. W. G. Hunt, Measuring Color, 3rd ed. (Fountain, 1998).

Kang, H. R.

H. R. Kang, Color Technology for Electronic Imaging Devices (SPIE, 1997).

Kelly, T. L.

D. Liu and T. L. Kelly, Nat. Photonics 8, 133 (2014).
[Crossref]

Kinnear, P. R.

P. R. Kinnear and A. Sahraie, British J. Ophthalmol. 86, 1408 (2002).
[Crossref]

Klein, G. A.

G. A. Klein, Industrial Color Physics (Springer, 2010).

Kuehni, R. G.

R. G. Kuehni, Color Res. Appl. 33, 324 (2008).

Kuittinen, M.

Laamanen, H.

Li, C.

M. R. Luo, G. Cui, and C. Li, Color Res. Appl. 31, 320 (2006).
[Crossref]

Liu, D.

D. Liu and T. L. Kelly, Nat. Photonics 8, 133 (2014).
[Crossref]

Luo, M. R.

M. R. Luo, G. Cui, and C. Li, Color Res. Appl. 31, 320 (2006).
[Crossref]

MacLeod, H. A.

H. A. MacLeod, Thin-Film Optical Filters, 4th ed. (CRC Press, 2010), Chap. 13.

Osten, W.

Peterhänsel, S.

Pruss, C.

Romero, J.

A. Yebra, J. A. Garca, and J. Romero, J. Opt. 25, 231 (1994).
[Crossref]

Sahraie, A.

P. R. Kinnear and A. Sahraie, British J. Ophthalmol. 86, 1408 (2002).
[Crossref]

Shin, B.

B. Shin, O. Gunawan, Y. Zhu, N. A. Bojarczuk, S. J. Chey, and S. Guha, Prog. Photovoltaics 21, 72 (2013).
[Crossref]

Stiles, W. S.

G. Wyszecki and W. S. Stiles, Color Science: Concepts and Methods, Quantitative Data and Formulae, 2nd ed. (Wiley, 2000).

Tervo, J.

Turunen, J.

Ulman, A.

A. Ulman, Characterization of Organic Thin Films (Momentum, 2010).

Wolf, E.

M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 7th ed. (Cambridge University, 1999), p. 66.

Wyszecki, G.

G. Wyszecki and W. S. Stiles, Color Science: Concepts and Methods, Quantitative Data and Formulae, 2nd ed. (Wiley, 2000).

Yebra, A.

A. Yebra, J. A. Garca, and J. Romero, J. Opt. 25, 231 (1994).
[Crossref]

Zhu, Y.

B. Shin, O. Gunawan, Y. Zhu, N. A. Bojarczuk, S. J. Chey, and S. Guha, Prog. Photovoltaics 21, 72 (2013).
[Crossref]

British J. Ophthalmol. (1)

P. R. Kinnear and A. Sahraie, British J. Ophthalmol. 86, 1408 (2002).
[Crossref]

Color Res. Appl. (2)

M. R. Luo, G. Cui, and C. Li, Color Res. Appl. 31, 320 (2006).
[Crossref]

R. G. Kuehni, Color Res. Appl. 33, 324 (2008).

J. Opt. (1)

A. Yebra, J. A. Garca, and J. Romero, J. Opt. 25, 231 (1994).
[Crossref]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (1)

Nat. Photonics (1)

D. Liu and T. L. Kelly, Nat. Photonics 8, 133 (2014).
[Crossref]

Opt. Lett. (1)

Prog. Photovoltaics (1)

B. Shin, O. Gunawan, Y. Zhu, N. A. Bojarczuk, S. J. Chey, and S. Guha, Prog. Photovoltaics 21, 72 (2013).
[Crossref]

Other (13)

E. Passaglia, R. R. Stronberg, and J. Kruger, eds., Ellipsometry in the Measurement of Surfaces and Thin Films (National Bureau of Standards, 1964).

A. Ulman, Characterization of Organic Thin Films (Momentum, 2010).

H. A. MacLeod, Thin-Film Optical Filters, 4th ed. (CRC Press, 2010), Chap. 13.

H. R. Kang, Color Technology for Electronic Imaging Devices (SPIE, 1997).

R. W. G. Hunt, Measuring Color, 3rd ed. (Fountain, 1998).

G. A. Klein, Industrial Color Physics (Springer, 2010).

CIE International Commission on Illumination, “CIE 159:2004 A colour appearance model for colour management systems: CIECAM02” (CIE, 2004).

CIE International Commission on Illumination, “CIE 15:2004 Colorimetry” (CIE, 2004).

J. Poortmans and V. Arkhipov, eds., Thin Film Solar Cells: Fabrication, Characterization and Applications (Wiley, 2006).

K. Ellmer, A. Klein, and B. Rech, eds., Transparent Conductive Zinc Oxide: Basics and Applications in Thin Film Solar Cells (Springer, 2007).

M. Born and E. Wolf, Principles of Optics, 7th ed. (Cambridge University, 1999), p. 66.

CIE International Commission on Illumination, “CIE S 014-1/E:2006 CIE Colorimetry—Part 1: Standard colorimetric observers” (CIE, 2006).

G. Wyszecki and W. S. Stiles, Color Science: Concepts and Methods, Quantitative Data and Formulae, 2nd ed. (Wiley, 2000).

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Figures (4)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Composed photo of all samples (bottom row) and adjusted color fields (top row). Residual defects of the samples can be seen at the edges of some samples.

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

Reconstruction of the experimental setup: the thin film itself is not visible in the large figure owing to the angle. The inset shows the monitor view from the subject’s perspective. When the photograph was taken, the keyboard was illuminated with a flash light reflected from the ceiling.

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Results in the CIECAM02 color space. Selections by subjects are marked with black crosses (×). The curve represents theoretical thin-film colors for thicknesses between 0 and 200 nm, and the thickness values for every 10 nm are marked with blue dots.

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Human selections (×) for each sample, their means (blue +), and spectrophotometer-based (green □) and ellipsometer measurements (red ⋄).

Tables (2)

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Table 1. Summary of the Resultsa

Tables Icon

Table 2. Summary of the Color Differences for All Samplesa

Equations (1)

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T(λ,d)=tas2tsf2tfa21+rsf2rfa2+2rsfrfacos(4πnd/λ),

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