Three different spectroscopic approaches, Raman linescans, Raman imaging, and attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR FT-IR) imaging were evaluated for the visualization of the thin adhesive layers (3-6 μm) present in polymeric photovoltaic backsheets. The cross-sections of the multilayer laminates in the original, weathered, and artificially aged samples were investigated spectroscopically in order to describe the impact of the environmental factors on the evenness and thickness of the adhesive layers. All three methods were found to be suitable tools to detect and visualize these thin layers within the original and aged polymeric laminates. However, as the adhesive layer is not very uniform in thickness and partly disintegrates upon weathering and/or artificial aging, Raman linescans yield only qualitative information and do not allow for an estimation of the layer thickness. Upon increasing the measuring area by moving from one-dimensional linescans to two-dimensional Raman images, a much better result could be achieved. Even though a longer measuring time has to be taken into account, the information on the uniformity and evenness of the adhesive layer obtainable using the imaging technique is much more comprehensive. Although Raman spectroscopy is known to have the superior lateral resolution as compared with ATR FT-IR spectroscopy, the adhesive layers of the samples used within this study (layer thickness 3-6 μm) could also be detected and visualized by applying the ATR FT-IR spectroscopic imaging method. However, the analysis of the images was quite a demanding task, as the thickness of the adhesive layer was in the region of the resolution limit of this method. The information obtained for the impact of artificial aging and weathering on the adhesive layer obtained using Raman imaging and ATR FT-IR imaging was in good accordance.

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