The confocal Raman technique is widely used for the depth profiling of thin transparent polymer films. Reported depth resolutions are on the order of two micrometers. The depth resolution is worsened and the actual measurement depth is changed by the use of metallurgical "dry" objectives. Also, if the sample is strongly light scattering, the measurement depth is reduced drastically. In this work, we demonstrate how these problems can be circumvented by using an immersion technique in confocal Raman depth profiling. In the method, two different immersion fluid layers and a cover glass, which separates the two fluid layers, are used. This configuration allows the fluid that is in contact with the sample to be selected with respect to the requirements dictated by the refractive index of the sample, sample-immersion fluid interaction, Raman spectra overlapping, or fluorescence quenching properties. The use of the immersion technique results in major improvements in the depth resolution and in the depth profiling capability of the confocal Raman technique when applied to strongly light scattering materials.
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