The discovery of material’s true nature by nano-FTIR spectroscopy

Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy or FTIR spectroscopy is the most widely used tool for analysis of different materials, herewith, it has numerous fields of applications such as medicine, biology, chemistry, and even geology.

Apart from analyzing chemical matter, traditional FTIR spectroscopy is able to define:

  • crystallinity;
  • molecular orientation;
  • stress and strain of a material;
  • free-carrier concentration.

In spite of the fact that the effectiveness of the combination of FTIR spectroscopy with atomic force microscopy allows determination of biopolymer, polymer blend and 2D material qualities, Fourier spectroscopy spatial resolution is limited because of the all-round diffraction limit. Consequently, the wavelength of about 5 to 10 µm makes it impossible to analyze material properties on the nanolevel.

Fortunately, the new advanced method called nano-FTIR spectroscopy is changing traditional spectroscopy. Its spatial resolution is not limited and is able to achieve nanoscale level with the help of IR spectroscopy and scattering-type near-field scanning microscopy (s-SNOM). Thus, nano-FTIR spectroscopy identifies material qualities at a 10-nm length scale.

Also, this wavelength allows greatly reducing measurement time that is highly important for nano-FTIR as a nanostructure analysis tool. Nano-FTIR spectroscopy is ideal for basic polymer structures because this technique is noninvasive and very sensitive that makes the chemical determination of polymers, biopolymers, polymer blends, and bio-minerals faster and easier.

It should be mentioned that nano-FTIR spectroscopy includes the use of a metal atomic force microscope or AFM as in the case with other optical microscopy technique. Also, this type of spectroscopy uses a new advanced fiber laser system that is based on an Er-doped laser system with a wavelength of 5 to 15 µm.

The main advantage of nano-FTIR spectroscopy is the extension of s-SNOM concept by enabling to get near-field absorption and reflection spectra. Moreover, the combination of s-SNOM microscopy and an Er-doped fiber laser system makes FTIR spectroscopy ideal for nanoscale structures of materials.

Finally, it is planned that in the future this technique will open the opportunity for full 2D nano-FTIR spectroscopic mapping (hyperspectral imaging) and nano-FTIR spectroscopy will become a usual device for nanomaterials analysis.

Optromix is a provider of top quality special fibers and broad spectra optical fiber solutions. The company delivers the best quality special fibers and fiber cables, fiber optic bundles, spectroscopy fiber optic probes, probe couplers and accessories for IR fiber spectroscopy to clients. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@optromix.com

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