Light profile microscopy (LPM) is a recently developed technique of optical inspection that is used to record micrometer-scale images of thin-film cross-sections on a direct basis. In single beam mode, LPM provides image contrast based on luminescence, elastic, and/or inelastic scatter. However, LPM may also be used to depth profile the optical absorption coefficient of a thin film based on a method of dual beam irradiation presented in this work. The method uses a pair of collimated laser beams to consecutively irradiate a film from two opposing directions along the depth axis. An average profile of the beam's light intensity variation through the material is recovered for each direction and used to compute a depth-dependent differential absorbance profile. This latter quantity is shown from theory to be related to the film's depth-dependent optical absorption coefficient through a simple linear model that may be inverted by standard methods of numerical linear algebra. The inverse problem is relatively well posed, showing good immunity to data errors. This profilometry method is experimentally applied to a set of well-characterized materials with known absorption properties over a scale of tens of micrometers, and the reconstructed absorption profiles were found to be highly consistent with the reference data.
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