We present a new type of reflectance difference (RD) spectrometer for fast spectroscopic measurements based on a rotating-compensator (RC) design. The instrument uses a 1024 element Si photodiode linear array for simultaneous multiwavelength detection. High quality RD spectra covering a spectral range from 1.5 to 4.5 eV can be acquired within a few seconds. A detailed description of the working principle, the instrumentation, and the algorithms used for data collection and reduction is presented, followed by a discussion of errors introduced by lamp instability and optical imperfections of the compensator. Finally, to demonstrate the performance of the new RCRD spectrometer, we illustrate its application for the in situ, real-time monitoring of the initial stages of organic thin film growth of para-sexiphenyl (p-6P) on the Cu(110)-(2×1)O surface.

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