We have used a miniaturized Wollaston wire resistive thermometer as a probe to record infrared absorption spectra of polymeric samples by detecting photothermally induced temperature fluctuations at the sample surface. This method opens the way to absorption Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy/microscopy with a spatial resolution that is no longer diffraction limited, but is determined instead by the size of the contact between probe and sample. At present, this is on the order of a few hundred nanometers. The thermal probe, of a type used in scanning thermal microscopy and microthermal analysis, allows us to detect the photothermal response of a specimen exposed to the beam of a Fourier transform infrared spectrometer and heated thereby. The signal from this probe measures the resulting temperature fluctuations, and thus provides an interferogram which replaces the interferogram normally obtained by means of direct detection of the IR transmitted by a sample.
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