Time-domain SFG spectroscopy using mid-IR pulse shaping: Practical and intrinsic advantages

Jennifer E Laaser, Wei Xiong, Martin T. Zanni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Sum-frequency generation (SFG) spectroscopy is a ubiquitous tool in the surface sciences. It provides infrared transition frequencies and line shapes that probe the structure and environment of molecules at interfaces. In this article, we apply techniques learned from the multidimensional spectroscopy community to SFG spectroscopy. We implement balanced heterodyne detection to remove scatter and the local oscillator background. Heterodyning also separates the resonant and nonresonant signals by acquiring both the real and imaginary parts of the spectrum. We utilize mid-IR pulse shaping to control the phase and delay of the mid-IR pump pulse. Pulse shaping allows phase cycling for data collection in the rotating frame and additional background subtraction. We also demonstrate time-domain data collection, which is a Fourier transform technique, and has many advantages in signal throughput, frequency resolution, and line shape accuracy over existing frequency domain methods. To demonstrate time-domain SFG spectroscopy, we study an aryl isocyanide on gold, and find that the system has an inhomogeneous structural distribution, in agreement with computational results, but which was not resolved by previous frequency-domain SFG studies. The ability to rapidly and actively manipulate the mid-IR pulse in an SFG pules sequence makes possible new experiments and more accurate spectra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2536-2546
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 24 2011


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