We investigate how light samples disordered porous materials such as ceramics and pharmaceutical materials. By combining photon time-of-flight spectroscopy and sensitive laser-based gas sensing, we obtain information on the extent to which light interacts with solid and pore volumes, respectively. Comparison with mercury intrusion porosimetry shows that light predominantly interacts with the solid. Analysis based on a two-state model does not fully explain observations, revealing a need for refined modeling. Nonetheless, excellent correlation between actual porosity and the porosity experienced by photons demonstrates the potential of nondestructive optical porosimetry based on gas absorption.
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