In this study, the application of thermal lens spectroscopy to detection of analytes in agarose gels was examined. It was found that a long-term refractive index gradient is produced in the sample, in addition to the thermally induced refractive index gradient, and gives rise to a long-term thermal lens signal. It is argued that the most likely source of the long-term signal is a concentration gradient formed in the sample. The long-term refractive index gradient results in a focusing lens, and is thus opposite to the thermal gradient. The formation of this gradient requires as much as 500 s to reach equilibrium during constant irradiation. The existence of the long-term refractive index gradient is verified by time-resolved Z-scan experiments. The signal resulting from this gradient is termed the long-term thermal lens and is shown to depend on temperature, is observed only for gelled agarose solutions, and is sensitive to anisotropies in the sample.
Michael W. Briggs and George R. Long, "Thermal Lens Spectrophotometry in Agarose Gels," Appl. Spectrosc. 50, 241-244 (1996)