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Third-order effects in resonant sum-frequency-generation signals at electrified metal/liquid interfaces

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Abstract

Vibrational sum-frequency-generation (SFG) spectroscopy experiments at electrified interfaces involve incident laser radiation at frequencies in the IR and near-IR/visible regions as well as a static electric field on the surface. Here we show that mixing the three fields present on the surface can result in third-order effects in resonant SFG signals. This was achieved for closed packed self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) with molecular groups of high optical nonlinearity and surface potentials similar to those typically applied in cyclic voltammograms. Broadband SFG spectroscopy was applied to study a hydrophobic well-ordered araliphatic SAM on an Au(111) surface using a thin-layer analysis cell for spectro-electrochemical investigations in a 100 mM NaOH electrolyte solution. Resonant contributions were experimentally separated from nonresonant contributions of the Au substrate and theoretically analyzed using a fitting function including third-order terms. The resulting ratio of third-order to second-order susceptibilities was estimated to be O(1010)m/V.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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