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Opt Lett. 2013 Feb 15;38(4):507-9. doi: 10.1364/OL.38.000507.

Infrared microcalorimetric spectroscopy using quantum cascade lasers.

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37931-6054, USA.


We have investigated an IR microcalorimetric spectroscopy technique that can be used to detect the presence of trace amounts of target molecules. The chemical detection is accomplished by obtaining the IR photothermal spectra of molecules adsorbed on the surface of uncooled thermal micromechanical detectors. Although we use a chemical layer to absorb target molecules, IR microcalorimetric spectroscopy requires no chemical specific coatings. The chemical specificity of the presented method is a consequence of the wavelength-specific absorption of IR photons from tunable quantum cascade lasers due to vibrational spectral bands of the analyte. We have obtained IR photothermal spectra for trace concentrations of 1,3,5-Trinitroperhydro-1,3,5-triazine and a monolayer of 2-Sulfanylethan-1-ol (2-mercaptoethanol) over the wavelength region from 6 to 10 μm. We found that both chemicals exhibit a number of photothermal absorption features that are in good agreement with their respective IR spectra.

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