Evanescent Field Based Photoacoustics: Optical Property Evaluation at Surfaces



Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE




Here, we present a protocol to estimate material and surface optical properties using the photoacoustic effect combined with total internal reflection. Optical property evaluation of thin films and the surfaces of bulk materials is an important step in understanding new optical material systems and their applications. The method presented can estimate thickness, refractive index, and use absorptive properties of materials for detection. This metrology system uses evanescent field-based photoacoustics (EFPA), a field of research based upon the interaction of an evanescent field with the photoacoustic effect. This interaction and its resulting family of techniques allow the technique to probe optical properties within a few hundred nanometers of the sample surface. This optical near field allows for the highly accurate estimation of material properties on the same scale as the field itself such as refractive index and film thickness. With the use of EFPA and its sub techniques such as total internal reflection photoacoustic spectroscopy (TIRPAS) and optical tunneling photoacoustic spectroscopy (OTPAS), it is possible to evaluate a material at the nanoscale in a consolidated instrument without the need for many instruments and experiments that may be cost prohibitive.

Open Access