Abstract

Spectroscopic ellipsometry is a noninvasive optical characterization technique mainly used in the semiconductor field to characterize bare substrates and thin films. In particular, it allows the gathering of information concerning the physical structure of the sample, such as roughness and film thickness, as well as its optical response. In the mid-infrared (IR) range each molecule exhibits a characteristic absorption fingerprint, which makes this technique chemically selective. Phase-modulated IR ellipsometry does not require a baseline correction procedure or suppression of atmospheric CO2 and water-vapor absorption bands, thus greatly reducing the subjectivity in data analysis. We have found that ellipsometric measurements of thin films, such as the solid residuals left on a plane surface after evaporation of a liquid drop containing a given compound in solution, are particularly favorable for dosing purposes because the intensity of IR absorptions shows a linear behavior along a wide range of solution concentrations of the given compound. Our aim is to illustrate with a concrete example and to justify theoretically the linearity experimentally found between radiation absorption and molecule concentration. For the example, we prepared aqueous solutions of glycogen, a molecule of huge biological importance currently tested in biochemical analyses, at concentrations ranging from 1 mg/l to 1 g/l, which correspond to those found in physiological conditions. The results of this example are promising for the application of ellipsometry for dosing purposes in biochemistry and biomedicine.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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