Year of Publication


Document Type





Materials Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Eric A. Grulke


An anti-reflective (AR) lens is an ultrathin multilayered structure composing of AR coatings on a lens substrate. These coatings can be made by a spin-coating process with a nanocomposite of UV curable acrylic monomers and well dispersed metal oxide nanoparticles. The in-situ UV polymerization rate was reduced by oxygen inhibition and the absorption of UV energy by the metal oxide nanoparticles. There are few studies of the mechanical properties of ultrathin polymeric coatings that include the effects of substrates, the viscoelastic behaviors of polymers in submicron scales and the effects of multilayered coatings. With a coating system based on UV cured dipentaerythritol pentaacrylate on silicon wafer substrates, nanoindentation tests showed that the nominal reduced contact modulus increased with the indentation load and penetration depth due to the effect of the substrate, in quantitative agreement with an elastic contact model. Ultrathin polymeric coatings subjected to constant indentation loads exhibit shear-thinning during flow. None of the models examined completely described the elastic response of an ultrathin polymeric coating on a compliant plastic substrate. The effective modulus was a function of coating-substrate property, indenter tip size, coating thickness, adhesion and residual stress. It was logarithmic dependent on the ratio of the indentation depth to the coating thickness prior to coating fracture. An elastic model, assuming shear-lag and a plane-stress state, was used to estimate the interfacial strength between a submicron coating and a compliant substrate. The critical indentation load for the indentation-induced delamination of the coating from the substrate increased with the third power of the indentation depth and was a linear function of the reciprocal of the coating thickness. The interfacial strength was 70.4 MPa. Mechanical properties and fracture characteristics of CVD ceramic and nanocomposite coatings on polymer substrates were evaluated by nanoindentation and nanoscratching tests. The AR lenses made with polymer nanocomposite coatings have better mechanical properties due to the close match of properties between the coatings and the plastic substrate. The new approach to making AR lenses with polymer nanocomposites on plastic substrate is promising.