Multiscattering-Enhanced Absorption Spectroscopy
An original scheme for sensitive absorption measurements, particularly well-suited for low analyte concentrations, is presented. The technique is based on multiscattering-enhanced absorption spectroscopy (MEAS) and benefits from the advantages of conventional absorption spectroscopy: simplicity, rapidity, and low costs. The technique relies on extending the optical path through the sensing volume by suspending dielectric beads in the solution containing the analytes of interest, resulting in multiple scattering of light, which increases the optical path length through the sample. This way, a higher sensitivity and lower limit of detection, compared to those of conventional absorption spectroscopy, can be achieved. The approach is versatile and can be used for a broad variety of analytes. Here, it is applied to the detection of phenol red, 10 nm gold nanoparticles, and envy green fluorescence dye; the limit of detection is decreased by a factor of 7.2 for phenol red and a factor of 3.3 for nanoparticles and dye. The versatility of this approach is illustrated by its application in increasing the sensitivity of colorimetric detection with gold nanoparticle probes and a commercially available hydrogen peroxide bioassay. The influence of different parameters describing the scattering medium is investigated in detail experimentally and numerically, with very good agreement between the two. Those parameters can be effectively used to tailor the enhancement for specific applications and analytes.