Model-Based Material Parameter Estimation for Terahertz Reflection Spectroscopy

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IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology

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One important yet commonly overlooked phenomenon in terahertz (THz) reflection spectroscopy is the etalon effect-interference caused by multiple reflections from dielectric layers. Material layers are present in many THz applications from the monitoring of pharmaceutical tablet coating thickness to the detection of drugs, explosives, or other contraband concealed beneath layers of packaging and/or clothing. This paper focuses on the development and implementation of a model-based material parameter estimation technique, primarily for use in reflection mode THz spectroscopy that takes the etalon effect into account. The technique is adapted from techniques developed for transmission spectroscopy of thin samples and includes a priori information; namely, the assumption that a material's complex refractive index behaves consistently with the Lorentz dispersion model. The inclusion of the multiple returns provides additional information about the material and its structure, alleviating the need for short time windows in the fast Fourier transform (FFT) processing, which can limit spectral resolution. In addition, the parametrization of the material's dielectric function offers the potential for material classification based on these estimated dispersion model parameters. The parametric model-based method is validated by comparison with results from a conventional, non-parametric method applied to transmission mode data before being applied to reflection mode data for further validation with transmission mode results. Tests are also conducted to evaluate the parametric technique's robustness against measurement noise and ambiguity in sample thickness.


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