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Shining New Light on Old Principles: Localization of Evanescent Field Interactions at InfraredAttenuated Total Reflection Sensing Interfaces

Volume 60, Number 6 (June 2006) Page 573-583

Dobbs, Gary T.; Mizaikoff, Boris


A combined experimental and spectral ray tracing approach for identifying and evaluating evanescent field interactions with discrete surface deposits along a horizontal attenuated total reflection (HATR) element is presented. By experimentally depositing poly(styrene-co-butadiene) (PSCB) residues at fixed intervals along the measurement surface of a HATR crystal, distinct regions of evanescent field interaction with the surface deposits along the multi-reflection waveguide are visualized via infrared absorption features of PSCB. The infrared-attenuated total reflection (IR-ATR) measurements were confirmed by spectral ray tracing analysis simulating transmission-absorption spectra after modeling the polymeric surface deposits as thin-film IR absorbing cylinders. The presented analytical procedures and simulations provide a generic strategy for identifying and evaluating "active" sensing regions along ATR elements. Additionally, the simulated ATR setup along with the presented spectral ray tracing procedures provide a virtual platform aiding the development, optimization, and integration of deep-sea IR-ATR sensor probes with submersible mid-infrared spectrometers for in situ marine monitoring applications, which was the initial motivation for these studies.