Infrared spectra of areas about 2.5 × 1 mm on the surfaces of fossil plant or animal remains can be recorded nondestructively with the use of photothermal beam deflection spectroscopy. Samples need not be removed from the fossil, which may remain on or in its matrix, as long as a portion of the fossil's surface is accessible to the analyzing beams. The technique is potentially valuable for the examination of special samples of palaeontological and archaeological interest.
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