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Issue 1, 2011
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Evanescent wave cavity-based spectroscopic techniques as probes of interfacial processes

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Abstract

Evanescent wave cavity ring-down spectroscopy (EW-CRDS) is a surface sensitive technique, which allows optical absorption measurements at interfaces with good time resolution. In EW-CRDS, a pulsed or modulated laser beam is coupled into an optical cavity which consists of at least one optical element, such as a silica prism, at the surface of which the beam undergoes total internal reflection (TIR). At the position of TIR, an evanescent field is established whose amplitude decays exponentially with distance from the boundary. This evanescent field can be exploited to investigate interfacial properties and processes such as adsorption and surface reactions, with most applications hitherto focusing on solid/liquid and solid/air interfaces. As highlighted herein, EW-CRDS is particularly powerful for investigations of interfacial processes when combined with other techniques such as basic electrochemical measurements and microfluidic or hydrodynamic techniques. In this tutorial review, the basic elements of EW-CRDS will be introduced and the relative merits of different configurations for EW-CRDS discussed, along with various aspects of instrumentation and design. The type of information which may be obtained using EW-CRDS is illustrated with a focus on recent examples such as molecular adsorption/desorption, deposition/dissolution of nanostructures and interfacial redox reactions. The comparatively new, but complementary, cavity technique of EW-broadband cavity enhanced absorption spectroscopy (EW-BB-CEAS) is also introduced and its advantages compared with EW-CRDS are discussed. Finally, future developments and trends in EW-cavity based spectroscopy are predicted. Notably, the potential for extending the technique to probe other interfaces is exemplified with a discussion of initial interfacial absorbance measurements at a water–air interface.

Graphical abstract: Evanescent wave cavity-based spectroscopic techniques as probes of interfacial processes

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 Jun 2010 and first published on 30 Sep 2010


Article type: Tutorial Review
DOI: 10.1039/C0CS00017E
Citation: Chem. Soc. Rev., 2011,40, 207-220
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    Evanescent wave cavity-based spectroscopic techniques as probes of interfacial processes

    M. Schnippering, S. R. T. Neil, S. R. Mackenzie and P. R. Unwin, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2011, 40, 207
    DOI: 10.1039/C0CS00017E

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