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

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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.

Keywords: Remote sensing; Stand-off chemical detection; Sum-frequency spectroscopy

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, 1013 Northeast 40th Street, Seattle, WA 98105 USA

Publication date: March 1, 2013

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