Karhunen–Loève treatment to remove noise and facilitate data analysis in sensing, spectroscopy and other applications
Resolving weak spectral variations in the dynamic response of materials that are either dominated or excited by stochastic processes remains a challenge. Responses that are thermal in origin are particularly relevant examples due to the delocalized nature of heat. Despite its inherent properties in dealing with stochastic processes, the Karhunen–Loève expansion has not been fully exploited in measurement of systems that are driven solely by random forces or can exhibit large thermally driven random fluctuations. Here, we present experimental results and analysis of the archetypes (a) the resonant excitation and transient response of an atomic force microscope probe by the ambient random fluctuations and nanoscale photothermal sample response, and (b) the photothermally scattered photons in pump–probe spectroscopy. In each case, the dynamic process is represented as an infinite series with random coefficients to obtain pertinent frequency shifts and spectral peaks and demonstrate spectral enhancement for a set of compounds including the spectrally complex biomass. The considered cases find important applications in nanoscale material characterization, biosensing, and spectral identification of biological and chemical agents.