A device to probe the molecular structure of materials next to a solid interface in a thin film geometry has been developed. The device can produce controlled thicknesses as small as 1 mum with parallelity better than 0.003degrees. We have shown that the thickness and the parallelity of the film produced between two optical surfaces can be quantified using white light and monochromatic light interferometry, respectively. In addition, this apparatus allows the study of these films in a static state or under shear using spectroscopic techniques involving transmission or reflection measurements. (C) 2002 American Institute of Physics.
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