Enhancing the sensitivity of nano-FTIR spectroscopy

P. Hermann, B. Kästner, A. Hoehl, V. Kashcheyevs, P. Patoka, G. Ulrich, J. Feikes, M. Ries, T. Tydecks, B. Beckhoff, E. Rühl and Gerhard Ulm

Optics Express 25, 16574-16587 (2017)
ynchrotron radiation-based nano-FTIR spectroscopy utilizes the highly brilliant and ultra-broadband infrared (IR) radiation provided by electron storage rings for the infrared spectroscopic characterization of samples at the nanoscale. In order to exploit the full potential of this approach we investigated the influence of the properties of the radiation source, such as the electron bunch shape and spectral bandwidth of the emitted radiation, on near-field infrared spectra of silicon-carbide (SiC). The adapted configuration of the storage ring optics enables a modification of the transverse electron bunch profile allowing an increase of the measured near-field signal amplitude. Additionally, the decay of the signal amplitude due to the decreasing storage ring current is also eliminated. Further options for improving the sensitivity of nano-FTIR spectroscopy, which can also be applied to other broadband radiation sources, are the adaption of the spectral bandwidth to the wavelength range of interest or the use of polarization optics. The sensitivity enhancement emerging from these options is verified by comparing near-field spectra collected from crystalline SiC samples. The improvement in sensitivity by combining these approaches is demonstrated by acquiring nano-FTIR spectra from thin organic films, which show weak resonances in the IR-regime.