Fourier transform infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy is greatly improved by the simultaneous measurement of the photoacoustic signal amplitude and phase. Saturation effects, sample dilation, and optical scattering, even in heterogeneous samples, can be easily corrected to give the absorption coefficient real value. Quantitative analyses without any special sample preparation or special photoacoustic cell are now possible. Moreover, the phase of the photoacoustic signal permits depth localization of the absorbing species within the thermal diffusion length. Surface analyses are thus possible that have a depth resolution at least one order of magnitude higher than that obtained by changing the thermal diffusion length. In this paper we illustrate the advantages of phase analysis in Fourier transform infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy with the detection of sorbed water in polyethylene.

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