Infrared spectra of micro-structured samples with microPhotoacoustic spectroscopy and synchrotron radiation
Photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS) measures the photon absorption spectrum of a sample through detection of the acoustic wave generated by the photothermal effect as one modulates the intensity of the incident radiation at each wavelength. We have recently demonstrated the implementation of PAS in a microscopy configuration with mid-infrared radiation (microPAS). In the present work, we describe the performance of microPAS using synchrotron radiation (SR) in diffraction-limited spectromicroscopy and imaging experiments. Spectra were obtained for polystyrene beads, polypropylene fibres, and single fibres of human hair. SR produced microPAS spectra of much higher intensity as compared with those obtained using conventional mid- and near-infrared sources. For hair samples, the penetration depth of mid-infrared light, even with bright SR, is significantly shorter than the probed sample thickness at very low modulation frequencies resulting in saturated PAS spectra. In contrast, microPAS spectra of polymer beads were in general of much better quality than those obtained with conventional sources. We also demonstrated the capability to collect line profiles and line spectra at diffraction limited spatial resolution. The microPAS spectra of beads appear free from appreciable bandshape distortions arising from the real part of the refractive index of the sample. This observation confirms microPAS as an absorption-only technique and establishes it as a valuable new tool in the microspectroscopic analysis of particulates and of samples with a complex topography.