Abstract

Terahertz (THz) radiation interacts strongly with the intermolecular hydrogen-bond network in aqueous liquids. The dielectric properties of liquid water and aqueous solutions in the THz spectral region are closely linked to the microscopic dynamics of the liquid solution, and hence THz spectroscopy offers an important insight into fundamental intermolecular interactions in polar liquids. At the same time, the strong and characteristic interaction between THz radiation and liquids offers a methodology for the classification of liquids inside containers, and hence the THz region is suitable for remote detection of some of the properties of bottled liquids. Here we present a review of THz spectroscopy and modeling of water–ethanol mixtures, and establish a link between the dielectric function of water–ethanol mixtures and some of their thermodynamic properties. We then review how the knowledge of the dielectric function of aqueous mixtures can be used for inspection of liquids inside bottles. Finally we draw up some of the limits to the applicability of THz reflection spectroscopy in the identification of dangerous liquids.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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