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Powerful mid-infrared laser system opens new opportunities for spectroscopic analytical technique

Researchers from Austria have developed a highly bright mid-infrared laser system that can be used for a spectroscopic analytical technique called ellipsometry. Such laser technology allows getting high-resolution spectral data information at a very short time (less than a second), therefore, the developed laser system opens new possibilities into quick changing properties of different samples from plastic to biological materials.
It should be noted that the method of spectroscopic ellipsometry enables to measure the changes of light polarization after its interaction with a sample. The use of a mid-infrared quantum cascade laser system, a new type of lasers that is at 10,000 times brighter than the conventional laser beam sources in spectroscopic ellipsometry could offer new data about a sample’s chemical composition and molecular orientation.
The tests demonstrate that the quantum cascade laser system helps to improve the signal quality of the spectroscopic measurements, herewith, this laser technology reduces the spectral acquisition time from several hours to less than a second, and further improvements are possible. Another potential laser application of QCL technique is the use for real-time monitoring of molecular reorientation as a plastic film is stretched.
Thus, the laser system technique offers the opportunity to obtain information about sample properties that were not possible to observe in real-time before. Also, the quantum cascade laser system may improve manufacturing processes and the quality of the resulting product, consequently, leading to novel scientific researches due to revealing previously unobservable physical and biological processes by laser technology.
The mid-infrared laser system’s advantage of a brightness, whose level is higher than that of synchrotron laser beam sources that are used only in specialized facilities, makes it possible to apply spectroscopic ellipsometry of highly absorbing materials or substances as well those dissolved in water. 
One more benefit of the laser system device is considered to be the use of the mid-infrared laser system for spectroscopic measurements without expensive and complex optical components such as monochromators or interferometers. Herewith, the application of the laser itself includes ellipsometric measurements with high spatial resolutions, which will be in demand for both science and industry fields.
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