, Volume 384, Issue 5, pp 1071-1086
Date: 07 Jun 2005

Photoacoustic spectroscopy for process analysis

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Photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS) is based on the absorption of electromagnetic radiation by analyte molecules. The absorbed energy is measured by detecting pressure fluctuations in the form of sound waves or shock pulses. In contrast to conventional absorption spectroscopy (such as UV/Vis spectroscopy), PAS allows the determination of absorption coefficients over several orders of magnitude, even in opaque and strongly scattering samples. Small absorption coefficients, such as those encountered during trace gas monitoring, can be detected with cells with relatively short pathlengths. Furthermore, PA techniques allow absorption spectra of solid samples (including powders, chips or large objects) to be determined, and they permit depth profiling of layered systems. These features mean that PAS can be used for on-line monitoring in technical processes without the need for sample preparation and to perform depth-resolved characterization of industrial products. This article gives an overview on PA excitation and detection schemes employed in analytical chemistry, and reviews applications of PAS in process analytical technology and characterization of industrial products.