Origins and consequences of asymmetric nano-FTIR interferograms

G. Németh, H. A. Bechtel and Ferenc Borondics

Optics Express 32, 15280 (2024)
Infrared scattering-type near-field optical microscopy, IR s-SNOM, and its broadband variant, nano-FTIR, are pioneering, flagship techniques for their ability to provide molecular identification and material optical property information at a spatial resolution well below the far-field diffraction limit, typically less than 25 nm. While s-SNOM and nano-FTIR instrumentation and data analysis have been discussed previously, there is a lack of information regarding experimental parameters for the practitioner, especially in the context of previously developed frameworks. Like conventional FTIR spectroscopy, the critical component of a nano-FTIR instrument is an interferometer. However, unlike FTIR spectroscopy, the resulting interference patterns or interferograms are typically asymmetric. Here, we unambiguously describe the origins of asymmetric interferograms recorded with nano-FTIR instruments, give a detailed analysis of potential artifacts, and recommend optimal instrument settings as well as data analysis parameters.