Attenuated total reflection (ATR) infrared absorption spectroscopy is a well-known vibrational spectroscopy technique for many different applications. In recent years this technique has been used to detect thin layer(s) lying on a solid substrate. Such a sample needs high pressure to ensure good optical contact between sample and prism and a p-polarization to enhance the signal to be detected. Such conditions have not been detailed in the literature regarding the effect of high pressure on the ATR measurement. This study shows the detrimental effect of high pressure on the ATR spectra. This effect is related to light depolarization induced by the germanium prism under high pressure. Moreover, the importance of polarizer position in the optical bench is highlighted. Indeed, due to the pressure-induced depolarization of the prism, the polarizer has to be placed before the prism to limit undesirable effects on the ATR spectrum baseline.
Névine Rochat, Nancy Klymko, Christophe Licitra, and Narciso Gambacorti, "Evidence of Light Depolarization in Grazing Incidence Germanium Attenuated Total Reflection Prisms," Appl. Spectrosc. 65, 1046-1050 (2011)