Abstract

The Harrick AutoSeagull variable angle reflection accessory for Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectrometers provides access to various spectroscopic techniques in a highly flexible platform. In particular, its ability to perform total internal reflection measurements is of interest because it also forms the basis for surface plasmon resonance (SPR) spectroscopy in prism-based configurations. The work presented here discusses the modification of the AutoSeagull to perform SPR spectroscopy, allowing for easy incorporation of the technique into most common FT-IR spectrometers. The wavelength dependency of the dielectric constant of the plasmon-supporting metal (in our case, gold) is largely responsible for the sensitivity attributed to changes in the sample's refractive index (RI) monitored by SPR spectroscopy. Furthermore, the optical properties of gold are such that when near-infrared (NIR) and/or mid-infrared (mid-IR) wavelengths are used to excite surface plasmons, higher sensitivities to RI changes are experienced compared to surface plasmons excited with visible wavelengths. The result is that in addition to instrumental simplicity, SPR analysis on FT-IR spectrometers, as permitted by the modified AutoSeagull, also benefits from the wavelength ranges accessible. Adaptation of the AutoSeagull to SPR spectroscopy involved the incorporation of slit apertures to minimize the angular spread reaching the detector, resulting in sharper SPR "dips" but at the cost of noisier spectra. In addition, discussion of the system's analytical performance includes comparison of dip quality as a function of slit size, tailoring of the dip minima location with respect to incident angle, and sensitivity to bulk RI changes.

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