Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Free standing ultra-thin polymer supports

We produce strong free-standing ultra-thin polymer for a variety of applications. The films can be made down to 5 nm thickness, reaching the dimensions of the polymer molecules themselves, and diameters up to 5" have been demonstrated. The films can support more than 10,000 times their own weight. We are particularly interested in mechanical properties of thin films and have developed new methods to measure these properties. The primary use of the films is as capsule support in NIF targets.


A 30 nm thick tent loaded with 10.5 g of weight.

CVD polymer films

Plasma CVD capsules like the one above are routinely used in NIF experiments.

Our goal is to make polymer coatings that can be deployed in some of the most demanding engineering environments Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has to offer. We use plasma enhanced and initiated chemical vapor deposition techniques (CVD) to synthesize polymer coatings that can be deposited on a wide range of substrates. The polymer behavior under a variety of chemical, thermal, and optical environments is probed using a suite of characterization tools. We are particularly interested in the aging behavior of CVD polymers and making them more robust under engineering use conditions.


Transparent conductive films

Our thin film studies are aimed at gaining a fundamental understanding of how transparent conductive film properties such as microstructures, defects, conductivity, and carrier mobility contribute to optical damage performance and lifetime. Specifically, how these parameters relate to materials, fabrication processes, and to enhanced laser annealing conditions including methods for defect reduction in wide gap semiconductors. Ultimately, we aim to deliver transparent conductive electrodes and fabrication methods for next generation, compact, high rep rate, and high power laser systems by focusing on understanding damage mechanisms and relationship with processing, structure, properties that are essential for addressing use of optoelectronics in high performance rep-rated lasers.


Microscope images of pulsed laser irradiation (λ=1064nm) damage and removal of a transparent conductive oxide film. Insets show surface structuring from apparent optical interference effects and the picture of a test sample after controlled laser exposure conditions.