, Volume 110, Issue 2, pp 147-154
Date: 21 Apr 2012

Pore size assessment based on wall collision broadening of spectral lines of confined gas: experiments on strongly scattering nanoporous ceramics with fine-tuned pore sizes

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Abstract

Wall collision broadening of absorption lines of gases confined in porous media is a recently opened domain of high-resolution spectroscopy. Here, we present an experimental investigation of its application for pore size assessment. We report on the manufacturing of nanoporous zirconia ceramics with well-defined pore sizes fine-tuned from 50 to 150 nm. The resulting pore structure is characterized using mercury intrusion porosimetry, and the optical properties of these strongly scattering materials are measured using femtosecond photon time-of-flight spectroscopy (transport mean free paths found to be tuned from 2.3 to 1.2 μm as the pore size increase). Wall collision line broadening is studied by performing near-infrared (760 nm) high-resolution diode laser spectroscopy of confined oxygen molecules. A simple method for quantitative estimation of the pore size is outlined and shown to produce results in agreement with mercury intrusion porosimetry. At the same time, the need for improved understanding of wall collision broadening is emphasized.