By Tim Nunney
Used in a wide range of products and devices, complex, multi-layered materials have traditionally been based around metallic or oxide layers. Now, with the drive toward lightweight and less expensive components, polymer-based materials are being used more frequently, particularly in areas like display technologies, biomedical devices and energy generation. Understanding how these layers interact with each other and the environment is a critical part of the development cycle. Because these interaction zones are typically just a few nanometers thick, surface-sensitive techniques are required that can profile through the material to access subsurface interfaces.