Abstract

This study investigates the use of photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS) for rapid soil analysis. Photoacoustic spectroscopy requires very minimal sample preparation (air-drying), which is a major advantage compared to the more traditional transmittance technique, which requires time-consuming preparation of pellets. The amount of information contained in the PAS spectra appears to be similar to that contained in transmittance spectra, and the PAS spectra exhibit a large number of bands that can be associated with various soil constituents such as quartz, calcium carbonate, and various types of clay. Comparison with attenuated total reflection (ATR) spectra of saturated soil pastes shows that the PAS spectra provide much more information than the ATR spectra due to the strong water bands present in the latter. PAS quantitative analysis of clay, calcium carbonate, and organic matter is presented, with respective determination errors of ∼12% clay, ∼5% CaCO<sub>3</sub>, and ∼0.2% organic matter.

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