Infrared spectroscopy with visible light

Experimental set-up. A continuous-wave laser at 532 nm pumps two nonlinear crystals, where SPDC occurs. The crystals are placed in a vacuum chamber and CO2 is injected into the chamber. The interference pattern of the SPDC from the two crystals is imaged by a lens onto a slit of a spectrograph and recorded by a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera.

Spectral measurements in the infrared optical range provide unique fingerprints of materials, which are useful for material analysis, environmental sensing and health diagnostics1. Current infrared spectroscopy techniques require the use of optical equipment suited for operation in the infrared range, components of which face challenges of inferior performance and high cost. Here, Kalashnikov et al. develop a technique that allows spectral measurements in the infrared range using visible-spectral-range components. The technique is based on nonlinear interference of infrared and visible photons, produced via spontaneous parametric down conversion. The intensity interference pattern for a visible photon depends on the phase of an infrared photon travelling through a medium. This allows the absorption coefficient and refractive index of the medium in the infrared range to be determined from the measurements of visible photons. The technique can substitute and/or complement conventional infrared spectroscopy and refractometry techniques, as it uses well-developed components for the visible range


Nature Photonics 10, 98–101 (2016) doi:10.1038/nphoton.2015.252

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