Instrumentation development of a novel multiwavelength thermal lens spectrophotometer which has the capability of achieving truly multi-wavelength excitation is described. The spectrophotometer is based on a new concept by which the sample is excited by multiwavelength excitation beams simultaneously, not sequentially as in previously reported multiwavelength thermal lens apparatus. This was accomplished by use of the acousto-optic tunable filter (AOTF) as a polychromator. Specifically, four different rf signals were simultaneously applied to the filter to enable it to diffract incident multiline laser light into a beam which contained four different wavelengths. This multiwavelength beam was then used to excite the sample, and the corresponding thermal lens signal was measured by a He-Ne probe laser. Compared with other multiwavelength thermal lens instruments, this all-solid-state thermal lens spectrophotometer has advantages that include its ability to simultaneously analyze multicomponent samples in microsecond times scale, without the need for any prior sample preparation. With this apparatus and with the use of a 12-mW multiwavelength excitation beam, the limit of detection for four-component (lanthanide ions) samples is estimated to be 10<sup>-6</sup> cm<sup>-1</sup>, which is similar to the detection limit obtained for one-component samples with the use of a single-wavelength system.
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