Evaluating the possibilities for a new generation light source for infrared spectroscopy and spectromicroscopy

Infrared spectroscopy is a fundamental technique to study novel materials ranging from medicine to semiconductor industry. Regular infrared sources can provide very limited spatial resolution for infrared microscopy experiments. Currently, this limitation can be overcome with the use of synchrotron sources. A recently discovered and now commercially available alternative light source is the Quantum Cascade Lasers  (QCLs). Their limitation is that QCLs have a small range of tunability. Bruker Optics has recently acquired a QCL product that may provide comparable characteristics (brightness, small spot size and widely tunable) as a synchrotron. A key advantage of this system is its relative ease of use, compact size and the price. Nonetheless, the real-world performance of this device must be tested against the outstanding performance provided by a synchrotron source. This project aims to test and evaluate the possibilities of implementing QCL sources for infrared spectromicroscopy, thus benefiting the partner organization by helping to develop a new product.

Luke J. Sandilands
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Kenneth S. Burch