Vitor S. Zanuto, Otávio A. Capeloto, Gustavo V. B. Lukasievicz, Leandro Herculano da Silva, Nelson G. Castelli Astrath, Stephen E. Bialkowski

Applied Spectroscopy – DOI: 10.1366/14-07733

An adaptive spatial filter is used as an optical novelty filter to detect photothermal mirror (PM) signals in high absorbing materials using continuous wave laser excitation. The optical novelty filter uses an optical beam-fanning limiter based on single domain barium titanate (BaTiO3), cut and poled 458 relative to the c-axis. The optical novelty filter approach relaxes the requirement for high sample surface smoothness because the effect aperture adapts to the surface, reducing the stationary background from the optical signal and provides a means of developing the photothermal mirror signal. Time-dependent probe laser phase shifts due to photothermal surface deformation pass through the optical novelty filter and are detected as an intensity increase over the stationary or ”mundane” signal. Experimental studies are performed using four well-characterized metals using both the conventional photothermal mirror and optical novelty filter apparatuses in order to understand the complicated signal behavior. Signal behavior is analyzed in different excitation intervals using pseudo-chopped sample excitation with different duty cycles. Optical novelty filter signals show fast response for changes in the spatial beam profile followed by long relaxation time. Reasons for the optical novelty filter response are described.