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Sensitivity Issues in Step-Scan FT-IR Spectrometry

The primary heat source in most infrared spectrometers is the reference laser which typically produces 7 to 9 watts of waste heat for its one milliwatt optical output. The heat capacity of air (effectively the same as that of N2) is approximately 1 Joule/gram-C, or 1 J/liter-C. The waste heat is sufficient to heat 1 liter of air by 9 C per second! (Remember that the temperature difference between the two arms of the interferometer should be < 0.01C). The waste heat was trapped away from the critical beam paths by foam baffles.

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