A photoacoustic detector based on the optical cantilever microphone has been built. The detector is capable of measuring solid-, liquid-, and gas-phase samples. Photoacoustic Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) measurement with three samples in different phases was demonstrated. Example samples were polyethene, sunflower oil, and methane. The sensitivity of the cell was compared to a commercial photoacoustic FT-IR detector. With the standard carbon black sample the cantilever detector gave approximately five times higher signal-to-noise ratio than the reference detector. The sensitivity with methane was also compared to the DTGS detector of the FT-IR instrument corresponding to an absorption path of 6.3 cm. Simulation of the photoacoustic signal showed that a compromise has to be made in the cell design between sensitivity for solid- and gas-phase samples but it is possible to highly enhance the sensitivity for all types of samples by reducing cantilever dimensions.
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