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Vibrational Sum-Frequency Spectroscopy for Trace Chemical Detection on Surfaces at Stand-Off Distances

Volume 67, Number 3 (March 2013) Page 253-260


Vibrational sum-frequency spectroscopy (VSFS) has been used for some time as a laboratory-based surface chemical analytical tool. Here, theoretical considerations in applying the method as a remote-sensing probe for detecting trace levels of chemicals adsorbed on surfaces are presented. Additionally, a VSFS instrument is configured to operate at a stand-off distance of 2.2 m using near-nadir incidence angles. This system was used to measure VSFS spectra for films of pure 1-amino-4-nitrobenzene (p-nitroaniline, PNA) and pure 2-hydroxy-1,3,5-trinitrobenzene (picric acid, PA) adsorbed on polished T-6061 aluminum alloy. These spectra are used to investigate the effect of optical polarization on the sum-frequency response of these compounds at nadir optical geometries. Detection limits for each compound are also estimated and found to be 0.51 μg cm2 for PNA and 0.89 μg cm2 for PA. The implications of these results regarding remote sensing applications of VSFS are discussed.

Index Headings: Sum-frequency spectroscopy; Remote sensing; Stand-off chemical detection.