Thin films of polymers find uses in many applications, ranging from microelectronics to protective coatings on displays. Sometimes, though, the polymer doesn't coat a surface well and it can de-wet, or break up, into patchy areas. If the surface is shiny, like the silicon surface used here, then reflection optical microscopy can be used to see the non-uniformity of the film, since different colors will be seen for different thicknesses of the film. Here, the silicon substrate looks black and the colors from the film make it look like the film is glowing in the dark.
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©VISUAL, Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst