Local determination of thin liquid film profiles using colour interferometry

Calum Butler, Zoe Luisa Eleanor Seeger, Toby Bell, Alexis Bishop, Rico Tabor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We explore theoretically the interference of white light between two interfaces as a function of the optical conditions, using separately: a) idealised conditions where the light is composed of three discrete wavelengths; b) a more typically experimentally realisable case where light comprises a sum of three Gaussian wavelength distributions; and c) unfiltered white light from a broadband source comprising a broad distribution of wavelengths. It is demonstrated that the latter case is not only optically simple to arrange, but also provides unambiguous absolute separation information over the range 0-1μm --a useful range in studies of cell adhesion, thin liquid films and lubrication-- when coupled to detection using a typical colour camera. The utility of this technique is verified experimentally by exploring the air film between a cylinder and surface, as well as arbitrary liquid films beneath air bubbles that are interacting with solid surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Physical Journal E
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

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