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Appl Opt. 2002 Feb 1;41(4):601-8.

Selective optical detection of aromatic vapors.

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  • 1Department of Physics, University of Duisburg, Germany.


A sensitive layer system of amorphous Teflon AF on silver has been coated on a glass substrate. With a monochromatic light source the reflectivity of the layer system as a function of the angle of incidence exhibits the surface-plasmon resonance as well as a set of leaky-mode resonances. These optical resonance phenomena are sensitive to small refractive-index changes that may be induced by diffusion of particles into the Teflon AF layer. On the basis of this effect, the aromatic vapors benzene; toluene; and o-, p-, and m-xylene have been investigated with different vapor concentrations. By selection of a distinct angle at a particular resonance, dynamic measurements can be performed. Assuming a diffusion process in accordance with Fick's law, the diffusion profile can be calculated as a function of time. As described by the Lorentz-Lorenz relation a refractive-index profile is induced that consequently interacts with the electromagnetic fields of the optical modes. With the function of the diffusion-induced refractive-index profile the shift of the resonance lines can be calculated from the measured reflectivity change as a function of time. The characteristic diffusion coefficients of the particular vapor allow for a distinction between the different types of aromate, even between the different xylenes.

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