• Transmission measurements using a new far-infrared set-up

      Baskin, Katarin Alinta; Department of Physics (Brock University, 1996-07-09)
      A system comprised of a Martin-Puplett type polarizing interferometer and a Helium-3 cryostat was developed to study the transmission of materials in the very-far-infrared region of the spectrum. This region is of significant interest due to the low-energy excitations which many materials exhibit. The experimental transmission spectrum contains information concerning the optical properties of the material. The set-up of this system is described in detail along with the adaptations and improvements which have been made to the system to ensure the best results. Transmission experiments carried out with this new set-up for two different varieties of materials: superconducting thin films of lead and biological proteins, are discussed. Several thin films of lead deposited on fused silica quartz substrates were studied. From the ratio of the transmission in the superconducting state to that in the normal state the superconducting energy gap was determined to be approximately 25 cm-1 which corresponds to 2~/kBTc rv 5 in agreement with literature data. Furthermore, in agreement with theoretical predictions, the maximum in the transmission ratio was observed to increase as the film thickness was increased. These results provide verification of the system's ability to accurately measure the optical properties of thin low-Tc superconducting films. Transmission measurements were carried out on double deionized water, and a variety of different concentrations by weight of the globular protein, Bovine Serum Albumin, in the sol, gel and crystalline forms. The results of the water study agree well with literature values and thus further illustrate the reproducibility of the system. The results of the protein experiments, although preliminary, indicate that as the concentration increases the samples become more transparent. Some weak structure in the frequency dependent absorption coefficient, which is more prominent in crystalline samples, may be due to low frequency vibrations of the protein molecules.