Mirage effect spectrometry is experimentally evaluated in this work as a technique of optical depth profiling in thin films where no prior information is available about the sample properties. An apparatus suitable for performing quantitative measurements is described. High-precision experimental alignment procedures are introduced along with a new method for precise optical correction of the detector signal for experimental frequency response nonuniformities. Reconstructions were made of the heat source density and absorption coefficient depth profile in materials with known depth dependence. These included samples approximating weighted delta function arrays, and depth-continuous media known to obey Beer's law to a good approximation. The properties of these samples were examined independently by using a technique of depth-sensitive light microscopy. Mirage effect depth profiles reconstructed on samples containing discrete absorbers were effectively regularization limited, indicating that resolution is limited by random error in the data rather than experimental bias. Depth profiles obtained in continuously absorbing media show a good agreement with those obtained by reference methods.
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