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The influence of laterally inhomogeneous corrosion on electrical and optical calcium moisture barrier characterization

: Klumbies, H.; Müller-Meskamp, L.; Mönch, T.; Schubert, S.; Leo, K.


Review of scientific instruments 84 (2013), No.2, Art.024103, 8 pp.
ISSN: 0034-6748
ISSN: 1089-7623
Journal Article
Fraunhofer COMEDD; 2015 ()

The reaction of calcium thin films with water - monitored optically or electrically - is widely used for evaluating ultrahigh barrier foils for the encapsulation of organic electronic devices. We studied the common optical and the electrical method and compared them with in situ atomic force microscope topography scans. All three methods were applied at the same sample in parallel in a typical test design containing a gas volume for water distribution next to the calcium layer of 60 and 1000 nm thickness, respectively. The common assumption for the interpretation of such measurement data is laterally homogeneous calcium consumption of the layer from top to bottom. In contrast, we observed a significant ratio of laterally inhomogeneous corrosion of the calcium on the micro-scale for both thicknesses. Some areas were strongly or completely corroded through the whole layer while others exhibited less or no corrosion. Furthermore, those corroded spots grew in lateral direction. As a consequence of lateral inhomogeneous calcium corrosion the electrical calcium measurement method underestimates the amount of calcium left; according to our results this does not affect the water vapor transmission rate (WVTR). Optical data evaluated by Lambert-Beer law underestimate the amount of calcium left as well and also underestimate the WVTR. If the data are evaluated, using a linear relationship between transmission and amount of calcium left, the both values are more precise. The scope of this study is to call attention to the existence of lateral inhomogeneity in calcium corrosion and its impact on the calcium permeation measurements. While more investigations would be needed to quantify the effect of this inhomogeneity on the electrical and optical method in general, the discussion sheds light on the way, calcium test data are influenced by lateral inhomogeneous calcium corrosion. Our observations highlight the need for careful interpretation of calcium test results, but also demonstrate its capabilities for precise ultrahigh barrier measurements.